Barbara – L’aigle noir on the Ile St Louis

She sang in the years when I wish I could have lived.  Like so many of the greats of French literacy, poetry, music, theatre …. Barbara’s star had stopped shining by the time I finally arrived in France. Her voice, poetically haunting, how I imagine it might have been to sit in a smoke-filled cabaret with her standing alone in the spotlight, her voice soaking deep into everyone’s veins.

Not to be, I just have to be content with this YouTube montage and the above photos that brought Barbara to life again on the banks of the Ile St Louis.

Bird’s eye view over Paris

Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame Paris

When we traded in our former life on a volcanic island for the rue’s, brasseries and boulangeries of France, much time passed in which I ached for what was left behind.  Dizzying heights of cliff tops that dropped into the ocean without warning, sunsets where I was convinced I could hear the sizzle  as the sun kissed the water on the horizon, the shortness of breath and the exertion of energy required to assume position to soak in the magical performance for which I held a season pass.

Acceptance that those days were gone and the new ones ahead were pages in a different book, meant adjustments.  I needed to find new cliffs; to be able to look out over the world and have my breath taken away.  I needed highs, something more than a café crème, or a tradition pas trop cuit

Whilst I can wander aimlessly through the streets of Paris and admire what pleasures are waiting to be found, the one I prefer best involves steps, usually lots of them, often hundreds.  It means a pause every now and again to stop, admire what lies before your eyes, while catching the breath that was blown away by not only the view, but those dozens of stairs spiraling upwards in a never ending swirl. And when you finally make it to the top, the view just takes your breath away.

A little French Christmas chocolate cheer

As the saying goes, the best things in life aren’t free.  Whoever thought up that line never finished it off properly. I’m a firm believer that should have done have been ‘the best things in life aren’t free, they’re chocolate’. 

In France, chocolate is an art all to itself, and there is no time more ideal to discover it than during the festive season when the creations of the master designers adorn the windows and leave me drooling for more.

Wishing everyone much Happiness for the holidays.