Café, crêpe and a Carrousel – perfectly co-ordinated at the Hotel de Ville

Outings are all the better when everything is easily combined to suit all those concerned. Case in point, the Hotel de Ville.  Lovers of glorious architecture can stare upward and be gob-smacked by the beauty of the Hotel itself, city hall as it might be known in other parts of the world.  The vertically challenged can ride the Carrousel that sits on the square in front, followed by freshly made chocolate crêpes that drip down their fronts and smear deliciousness across their rosy cheeks.  Then a mere saunter across the Rue de Rivoli  for cafés and hot chocolates where the chairs and the decor are perfectly co-ordinated and blend in with the colours of the Carrousel.

Everywhere you turn in Paris is a little corner of heaven.

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Sans commentaire “Mi-ange Mi-demon”

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.

Where’s winter?

The tease of snow we had in France at the end of 2010 had me leaping with joy that winter was going to be white and cold, really cold.  I could hear the giggles and see the delighted faces of the children sledding down the gentle slopes,  the Eiffel Tower off on the horizon.  We revamped the supply of sleds and purchased snow suits in December when there were continuous days of magical white dust covering the ground.  It seemed winter would bring in the New Year in spectacular style. With pink cheeks and cold toes, we’d come inside and wrap our hands around large glasses of freshly brewed vin chaude, warming them and sending the chill away.   We’d go crazy at the most divine muffins that have ever made an appearance from my trusty oven.

We practiced it a few times in the company of friends and the test runs were nothing short of perfect.  It worked fabulously until something went wrong, and terribly wrong at that.

Winter disappeared!

Whilst some will say the days have been grey and often humid, they have, but rarely cold enough to be known as ‘winter’.  Blue skies are now rolling in accompanied by rising temperatures, and the Clayton’s winter – the winter you have when you’re not having one, is on the verge of disappearing into spring.

Seven beautiful swans graced the pond for the month of January, until sadly, a fox picked them off one by one. They might have been saved had winter shown up and chased them south.

Likewise, these birds in Normandy forgot to fly away, and now there’s no need.

I’m feeling a little cheated and wanting just a few more weeks of cold, and another generous bout of snow would be appreciated too.  Right now though, I’m left wondering, where’s winter?

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.