Paris

Paris places

Paris Sky_opt

 Paris sky, evening

 

My internet access has been limited lately. Apart from not yet having wifi in my apartment, I lost my Nokia cell phone during the taxi ride back to my apartmentfrom Suzhou train station my first evening back from France. An unplanned new expense will be an iPhone in the next week.

 

Aside from that, I’m finishing up my dissertation for the M.A. in Teaching English for Academic Purposes, my title being Teaching English for Art History in a Chinese Context. The due date is September 1.

 

I will continue over the next couple of weeks to share photos from my trip to France. Below are some of my favorite places during my 8 days in Paris.

 

 

Chartier 1_opt

 Restaurant Chartier, the “good value” restaurant I fondly remembered from my student days. I ate my first dinner there after my arrival in Paris.

 

 

 

 

Metropolitain St_opt

 The Paris Metro – a world unto itself. If you’re in the right mood, the mazes of corridors and “correspondances” can be fun in a dizzying sort of way.

 

 

 

 

Gare de l est_opt

 I spent a lot of time in the Metro, thanks to my 3-day Paris Visite pass.

 

 

 

 

Passage Jouffroy 1-2_opt

 The covered passages or shopping arcades of Paris date mostly from the early 19th century. My favorites were the consecutive Passage Verdeau, Passage Jouffroy, and Passage des Panoramas, centered around the Grands Boulevards.

 

 

 

 

ble sucre 2_opt

 The Blé Sucré bakery on Square Trousseau came highly recommended by David Lebovitz. He didn’t steer me wrong. The brown-sugary, buttery, delectble kouign amann above was my favorite pastry treat.

 

 

 

 

Astier 3_opt

 One of my two (or three, or four) favorite restaurant meals in Paris was at Restaurant Astier. Pictured is the calve’s liver; I won’t even try to describe the huge terrine of marinated herring for an appetizer, or the all-you-can-eat cheese tray brought to your table after the main course. Yes, all this was followed by dessert.

 

 

 

 

Le Faubourg_opt

 Le Faubourg, near my hotel and on the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, became a favorite place for breakfast, not only for the good coffee and fresh, flaky croissants, but for the most friendly and cheerful waiter I’ve ever met.

 

 

 

 

Orsay Degas_opt

Finally, the rather bewildering but wonderful Musee d’Orsay was filled with too much art to view on one visit.

 

 

 

Paris, Paris

 

Eiffel_opt

 

I knew that Paris would be different – no place stays the same, and with the passage of over 30 years I was a different person than I was in my 20s. There are a lot more chains and franchises now, the ubiquitous Starbucks, KFC, and Subway; the seedy areas I remembered from long ago are now upscale and stylish. There was also a heatwave, with temperatures in the 30s (Celsius), and almost as much English and Chinese spoken as French. It was, after all, the height of the tourist season, and not the optimal time for experiencing “typically French” atmosphere – if, in fact, there ever is such a time in the most-visited city on earth.

 

I was gripped by melancholy a few weeks before my trip; memories and regrets of my youth , a Christmas spent in Paris with my brother and our mother in 1979, worries that I would confront fragments of my lost self at every turn. Instead, I simply enjoyed myself. Yes, Paris is in many ways just another big and indifferent city, but my focus this trip was to see things I had missed before, and to enjoy the first trip of my life not regulated by constant money concerns. Above all, I wanted to eat.

 

 

Aux Folies 2_opt

 

I was actually in Paris twice, for 4 days each time, bookending my visit to Provence and a week in Marseille in between. It’s just the way it worked out. I stayed at the Pavillon Opera Bourse, just across the street from the Folies Bergere, and near two monuments of my youth in the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre: the restaurant Chartier and the theater Le Palace, formerly the famous disco where why brother and I spent New Years Eve 1980, and where we saw Divine in person.

 

Cafe_opt

 

I can’t go into all the details of the trip at the moment; they’re still too fresh in my mind and it will take weeks to sort them out, at about the same pace that I’m editing the photos from my trip taken with my fabulous new Fujifilm X-T1. My days were usually divided in two: a morning walk from about 8 to 12 or 1:00, lunch, then a return to the hotel for a nap, followed by more walking and eating in the evening. It didn’t get dark until 11:00 p.m., which was disorienting, making the days seem endless, and I never really saw Paris by night.

 

 

Tea Room Passage Jouffroy_opt

Le petit déjeuner

 

Some of my favorite things: snacking throughout the day, or what I called my eternal “menu dégustation;” exploring the covered shopping passages, especially the close-by Passages Verdeau, Jouffroy, and Panoramas; visiting epiceries to sample delicacies; and three meals in particular, at Restaurant Astier (I’ll post photos later), Chez Denise for the perfect steak-frites, and at Le Trumilou (see photos below).

 

I’ll continue to post in the days ahead, with details of my 3 days in Arles, including Les Rencontres de la Photographie, a week in Marseille, and a day in Aix-en-Provence, where I spent 6 months of my scholarship year of study in my 20s.

 

 

 

Trumilou 1_opt

 Le Trumilou, French home cooking

 

Trumilou 2_opt

Selections of patés as a starter

 

 

Trumilou 3_opt

Salmon with spinach and carrots

 

 

Trumilou 5_opt

Selection of 3 cheeses

la belle France

Le Refuge 2 sm

 Cafe Le Refuge, Paris

 

 

I’m taking a well-deserved break from both the stresses of a new teaching job and the completion of my M.A. dissertation, and spending 2 1/2 weeks in France. It’s a sentimental journey, my first time here since the 1980s, and the sensations and memories are sometimes overwhelming. Paris, Arles, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence are my destinations – I spent 6 months in Aix as a student long ago – and the whirlwind tour is exhausting me.

I’m currently in Marseille for a week, and the heat, humidity, and burning Mediterranean sunlight are sometimes brutal. Just as exhausting is trying to consume all the food I can in this short time – seafood, couscous, bouillabaisse, and Provencal dishes – not to mention stocking up on olive oil and French delicacies.

As I slow down my pace a bit, and carve out a bit of time for writing and posting, I’ll shaer some of my experiences and the photos I’m taking with my fabulous new Fujifilm X-T1 camera. In the meantime, here are a couple of selected images.

 

 

metro Sentier sm

 Metro Sentier, Paris

 

 

 

cloister 1 sm

 Saint Trophime cloister, Arles

 

 

 

Med from ND Garde sm

Mediterranean view, Marseille