I know it is clichéd, but I do
love Paris! This city of romance is truly seductive!
As you trip down cobbled
streets in the different quartiers, you began to sense the centuries of history,
from the Sun King’s lavish building projects in an effort to make Paris the
‘new Rome,’ to the gory beheading of Marie Antoinette, the conquest and
opulence of Napoleon’s era and the ambiguity of the Vichy Régime.
Amble along the rive gauche of the River Seine and rummage through the
piles of old books for sale as so typically portrayed in the movie, Midnight in
Paris. Weave past the gifted street artists in Montmartre as you climb up to
the Sacré Coeur Basilica, erect and majestic at the top of the many steps -
it's highest point higher than the top of the Eiffel tower with unsurpassed
views across Paris. Here even the least religious will embrace a sense of light
Enjoy the pace of life, though still more hectic than where I live,
in Nice, compared to many other Western capitals, no one rushes yet everything
gets done efficiently. Waiters never write down an order but remember
everything and food is served at a pace in complete harmony with the community
– where there is time to digest and discourse, which Parisians love with a
passion. This is a city where academia and philosophy are not disdained (forget
not that the official world language of Diplomacy is still French!) Traffic is
scary fast (though not quite as dangerous as Italians in Nice) and there is an
element of courtesy in the honking and breakneck maneuvers! Scooters zip around everything and everyone,
with rider chatting on cell phone squeezed between ear and helmet, possibly
carrying a dog in a basket between his legs!
Paris needs to be
experienced on foot and with minimal agenda and an openness to be enticed into
an antique shop, or a Jewish bakery or spend two hours over an espresso at a
table on a busy sidewalk or tranquil square. For any Americans, please don’t
even larger Statue of Liberty than yours - approximately 35 feet in height. She
stands upon a tiny island called Swan Ally, [Allée des Cygnes] in the Seine near the Grenelle Bridge – a gift to
the French in 1889, by the American residents of Paris as a remembrance to
commemorate the Centennial of the French Revolution.
could rave for pages of this city that has been home to so many great artists
and writers, instead I want to leave you with some book and app recommendations
pertaining to Paris should this city be part of your summer vacation plans.
Madeline by Ludwig
4-8) - I think this classic, award winning 1940’s rhyming story about an orphan
girl is still one of the best picture books on Paris for younger kids. The
illustrations of this Parisian era are sublime.
from 0-10by Suzie Morgenstern (ages 7-11) Ernest has lived a
regimented life with his elderly grandmother and equally aged housekeeper for
10 years. All changes when Victoria and her 13 brothers come into his life. His
dull routine is blown apart. He has NEVER even been to a grocery store until he
helps Victoria, but on this fateful day, he discovers a book in the paperback
rack that may have the answer to his life-long question; where is his father,
and why did he leave him?
Anna and the
French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (YA) - A somewhat predictable ending, but a cute and very
funny teen love story set in Paris.
Author Bio:Joanna Marple is the author of Snow Games. She grew up
surrounded by the architecture of the city of Cambridge, UK, and
immersed in the books and landscapes of the Brontes, Tolkein and Beatrix
Potter. Her tall tales were not always appreciated as a young child, but her
passion for storytelling remained unfettered and was fuelled by the marvelous
people and animals she encountered during her humanitarian work across the
continents. More recently, her years as school librarian in Southern France
relit her passion for children’s books. Her stories focus on her love of the
natural world and the richness of the cultures she has encountered in her
travels. She lives presently in Nice with two quirky cats and a stream of
visitors from all over the globe.
Cool mushroom seen on my walk. I’ve never seen this kind before. #nature
Books entertain. Enlighten. Comfort. Educate.
The best examples connect us.
Dreamers by @YuyiMorales is one of those books. Yesterday, I had time at Barnes and Noble while my daughter was off with friends. I went to the picture book section to see what’s new. Dreamers was on prominent display. I read it and my eyes filled with tears at the beauty & longing & sadness & joy all wrapped into one story.
I bought it and went to @Mirasolscafe to write. I worked diligently for a while until a man sat down, said “hello,” & asked how my day was.
At first, I was a little annoyed. I was working. I didn’t want to chat. But for some reason, I set my work aside to talk with him. During a lull in the noise, I noticed his accent. He asked what I was doing. “Researching.” He asked what that word means. I did my best to explain. I answered his questions about my research for Flying Deep. He told me he is uneducated, but he is going to elementary school to learn English. He recently read his first book.
When he mentioned his childhood, I asked where he grew up. Mexico. I had to tell him about Dreamers: it felt so relevant, especially since English books are now in his grasp. I tried to describe it but realized I needed to show it to him. How could he hear about the book & not see its gorgeous images? I told him I would get it from my car.
I told him to take a look while I went to the ladies’ room. When I came out, he was looking page by page. He said, “This is a good book.” We talked about the word resplendent. He told me the Spanish translation (resplandeciente) while I apologized for not being able to speak Spanish.
I learned that his son has a 3 year-old son. I asked if he would be able to get the book to his grandson. He said, “yes.” I gave it to him.
Then he switched & spoke to me in Spanish. He asked my name. Michelle. I asked his. Pedro. We shook hands, thanked each other for the conversation, & said good-bye. Our time was up. I had to pick up my daughter.
I could have talked longer, but somehow that chance meeting also felt perfect just as it was.
Thank you @yuyimorales for the gift of your book.
Lumpia: little packages of deliciousness. Lumpia is a Filipino food I loved when I lived in Cebu. (I didn’t love it as much as pancit or milk fish sisig, but I loved it). A Filipina named Maria, who lives in Galena, AK, made them for me when I was visiting last month. (My friend asked her to make them for me). I was happy to speak a little Cebuano with Maria and eat her Alaskan version of lumpia which was made with a combination of moose meat and pork. #pinoy
We spent our final days in Alaska with our friends at their home in a village called Galena. Galena is west of Fairbanks and is “off the road system,” which means you can only get there by plane this time of year. (When the Yukon River freezes over, they can drive up the river). We spent quality time with our friends and our kids got to know each other. The kids also had little adventures of their own such as paddling a raft across the Yukon River, which you see in these photos. You’ll also see me prepping to go up with our friend in his bush plane, a view from the air, and some veggies in their huge garden. (Our friends prefer not to post pics on social media, so I’m only sharing a few pics in which their kids are far off and not identifiable).
I love this quirky #streetart Made me smile last night in Historic downtown New Bedford, MA.
#HatchStreetStudios in New Bedford has open studios the second Saturday of every month. The building is home to a variety of talented visual and performing artists, including a clown. Yesterday she taught my daughter to spin plates. We also viewed gorgeous art, joined in on a ukulele strumming session, ate some good food from Destination Soups, and watched various other musicians perform. Sharing space with so many creative people is invigorating.
Great day yesterday at #hatchstreetstudios . A day filled with art, music, and community. This is the New Time String Band from @southcoastlessons performing. (My whole family has taken lessons with Jeff on guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and banjo. Of course, he teaches fiddle, too. He’s wonderful. He’s also enrolling new students now).
Alaska Photos, part 3 (2nd attempt). Something wonky happened to yesterday’s post and the kayaking photos didn’t appear. So here they are. The one of my family on land features the Valdez Glacier behind us.
Alaska, Part 3: Rafting and Kayaking
We rafted on the Copper River and kayaked among icebergs in Valdez in a glacial lake that is 600 feet (183 meters) deep. I wasn’t able to take photos while rafting, but here are a couple from shore. The drive into Valdez is spectacular, so I’ve included a few pics of that along with pics in Valdez proper and while kayaking. #nature