Clouds over Saint-Mandé

 

The April showers turned into May showers.  Come on June!  Kick out the precipitation and bring in the picnics!  But enough about the weather already.

I just committed the terrible sin of running errands in my nightdress.  A real Franco no-no.  In a culture which firmly separates the public from the private,  flip-flops, pajama pants, and convenience clothes are only found behind locked doors.  Needless to say, I did dress up my nightgown with a French touch, one of my husband’s v-neck sweaters.  I’d like the think it was California casual with Midwestern roots.  Anyway, the moment I left my flat (with all my Crocs and Snuggies padlocked behind me), I felt the first ray of premature summer sun hit my ankles.  And so it begins…

 

Fête des Mères

Strength, creativity, patience, and sacrifice.  All the things she has perfected; all the things I am just beginning to understand.

Happy mother’s day, mom!

Paris for 4th-timers

Monumenta

So what do you see when you’ve seen it all?  My parents just packed up and set off.  But we spent the past week together not seeing the sites.  But like any great capital city, there are plenty of new things to discover in Paris that have not yet been immortalized on postcards.

1.) Daniel Buren’s Monumenta 2012.  What better way to wrap up a visit than with VIP passes to a vernissage at one the most impressive monuments in Paris, the Grand Palais!  Thanks for the passes, mon mari qui fume.  Buren planted 72,000 meters of candy-colored table trees.  It is as if Mary Quant was Avatar’s production designer.  The plastic-topped trees link together to create an interactive forest, flirting with the reflection of daylight and the passerby.  Catch it until June 21st.

2.)  The Bois de Vincennes.  Just east of Paris lies its largest park, complete with a proper chateau, free botanical gardens, and a forest almost three times the size of Central Park.  After getting lost in the streets of Paris, why try it in the forest?

3.)  Want to take a daytrip?  Want to see a castle?  How about the Chateau de Chantilly.  Check it out here.

4.)  The Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, the ultimate flea market, one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Take line 4 to Metro Porte de Clignancourt and walk toward the expressway to a find a tented market.  Unless you need a new Bob Marley t-shirt or a cell phone cover, keep walking.  I can never trace my steps because I always end up meandering through the small side streets of packed antique malls.  There’s a bit of everything, from museum pieces, to postcard vendors, to button booths.  My favorite little haberdashery is Daniel et Lili, tucked away at stand 128 at the Marche Dauphine.  With an immense stock of carefully organized vintage brooches, antique postcards, and bargain bins of original odds and ends, it is the perfect place to find an oddball souvenir or two.  Or stumble upon a little bit of music and catch a bite to eat at  La Chope des PucesParis’ premier Django Reinhart bar.  LIve music plays in front of the house, and the restaurant in the back beckons the jazz age.

Can you add anything else to my list?