Sans commentaire “Mi-ange Mi-demon”

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Les manèges enchantés – a le Parisien

A city for lovers, for foodies, for dreamers.

And, with all the carrousel rides to be found across the city, Paris is a magical roundabout of a city for children.

From Montmartre to Chatelet, the Hotel de Ville and across to the Eiffel Tower, the magic just never fades. Not for young, nor for old.

Not your average Valentine

Arrete de m'envoyer des fleurs

Never one to get into the Valentine’s theme of things, this photo sums it all up for me.

Translation, “Stop sending me flowers. Kidnap me you idiot.”

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.

Escape to the winter grey of the Calvados

There’s no escaping the grey in France during winter. 

From October through till April, everywhere you look,  cloud lingers low and there’s a dampness in the air.   The sun makes the rarest of appearances, her warm glow tucked away, out of sight.  People wrap up heavy to match the sombre colour of the skyline. 

Not someone to be bothered by winter, I embrace it.  My favourite season came like a built-in wardrobe with coats and chunky scarves, gloves, pink cheeks that glow when everyone returns to the warm air from the chill outside.  Hot chocolates and vin chaud, cider and galettes.

It also happens to be the time when I most prefer the ocean.  And when it all comes together like a Saturday trifecta, there’s only one thing to do.  Jump in the car and head to the Calvados.  Unlike the summer rush, it’s mostly void of tourists. With the exception of a few cars making their return to the UK, there are no crowds lounging about the harbour, no long waits to get into one of the quaint, fisherman restaurants.  The waters are calm, the beaches littered with pebbles and shells waiting to be collected by pint-sized fingers.

The grey slate buildings blend perfectly with the sky, the ocean, the lunch, and the quiet harbour.  It’s a little corner of heaven, and my favourite escape.

Reflection

Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people. – Albert Einstein

Here’s to closing off 2010 remembering the good, the not so good, the loved and the lost. And, to holding the memories tight in our hearts.   

Wishing that 2011 takes us one step closer to world peace than the questionable effort of 2010.