Bonjour les amis,
We arrived in Paris a few days ago. Most of our time has been spent catching up with relatives. Fortunately for us, some live in areas where photo opportunities abound. Take my brother for example. He is based in Rueil Malmaison, a green suburb West of Paris where I used to work before I moved to the United States. Rueil, located just 6 miles away from downtown Paris, has a charming downtown, recently renovated. It feels like a village, with specialty shops, Belle Epoque villas tucked at the back of private gardens; gourmet restaurants; and two châteaux surrounded by expansive grounds. Take a look...
|Château de Rueil Malmaison, once a gift from Napoleon I|
to his first wife, Josephine de Beauharnais
When the family gets together, we talk, we indulge in lazy promenades (an easy thing to do in such lavish surroundings,) and we eat. And les amis, do we eat...
|Salted caramel crêpe with Normandy apple cider|
|Fraisier, a delicious pastry, and strong black coffee|
at my mother in law's
From the looks of it, I am happy to report Paris has not changed much in a year. Spring weather is still wildly unpredictable. Coming from Seattle, we are used to dressing in layers and came prepared. Besides, if we miss anything, boutiques - some trendy, some more traditional; with eye-catching window displays, always - abound.
|A pâtisserie, really?|
Take a walk, and the show is still everywhere you look. In Paris, people watching and building watching are still the cheapest - and best - forms of entertainment.
|Hotel de Sully, Le Marais|
|Place des Vosges, Le Marais|
|Madame is enjoying a good book Place des Vosges|
|Ah, the French art of scarf (bun?) tying!|
If culture is what you are looking for, don't fret, Paris has still got it! Like in the old days, I looked at the ultimate Parisian guide for all things leisure and entertainment, le Pariscope, (a weekly publication, and the Parisian's "Bible,") yesterday. I found page after page of exhibits, catering to all tastes and interests.
Because our whole family is now dabbling in photography, we elected to visit the wonderful Carnavalet museum (the museum of the history of Paris.) It is offering a rare exhibit of Eugene Atget's works until late July. The photographers among you know that Atget (1857-1927) is credited as one of the founders of modern photography. As we walked through the exhibit this afternoon, we traveled back in time and watched over 200 black and white shots of pre-WWI Paris: Atget excelled at documenting les petits métiers (small trades,) many of which would ultimately disappear in the 20th century. Street peddlers, (selling toys, lampshades, umbrellas;) fish mongers; basket makers; wine sellers all looked at the man and his bulky equipment, and through the years, at us too. We saw sections of Paris that have all but vanished; old streets; courtyards; bistros, shops and fairgrounds. It was captivating, and a must-see for all Paris - and street photography - fans!
Bien sûr, getting to stop by the prestigious Carnavalet hotel once again, was... la cerise sur le gâteau (icing on the cake.)
|Many Parisians were at the exhibit, |
chatting as they recognized a street, a neighborhood...
Today's exhibit was just an apéritif, intended to whet my appetite before I head down to Nice at the end of the week. I have my eyes on at least one more before I board the T.G.V.
For now, it is time to wrap up this story after a fun day spent à Paris with my mom and Junior. Tomorrow, we will be meeting Mutti, my mother-in-law, for new adventures.