Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Paris in Portland

Still thinking of all the things I miss about Paris, and Paula asked for more photos, so here are a few more. I guess I will keep posting about Paris until I am tired of thinking about it.
While this is not a great photo, it reminds me of my French neighbors, particularly this woman in red. I saw her at several of the concerts across from my apartment, and she was very lively, in spirit at least. She was quite elderly, and her hands were gnarled from arthritis, but she attended lots of concerts, even the rock music. Though she did not get up to dance, she still thrust her hands in the air to the beat and she was an inspiration to me.
Several times I saw men on the street selling these small garlands of flowers. Since I love flower garlands of any kind (leis in Hawaii and India) I finally bought two and they were the sweetest smelling jasmine that perfumed my whole small apartment. As they aged, they turned a darker pink, but still smelled wonderful. I bought another strand several days later, and noticed that the price fluctuated wildly.
These are the velib that were parked all over Paris, but could I rent one? No, I could not, as one needs a credit card with a certain chip that mine did not posess. I have done a little research about renting them, and perhaps it is possible to use an American Express card, but I don't know for sure.I was very disappointed to not be able to try them out, as they seemed like such a fun and convenient way to get around the city.If you rent them for less than half an hour at a time, they are virtually free.
This is another window stencil at the GAP. I love how the stencil has an interplay with the sky and trees reflected in the windows. Now I want to try stenciling on windows.
I could not resist taking this photo of the charming French picnic along the Canal St Martin. As you may know by now, this was one of my favorite parts of Paris.
One time when I was in Paris in May, my hotel clerk told me about a "grand illumination" along the canal. That was all I needed to hear, so I hopped on the metro at 8pm, braving a crowd of protesters who were burning effigies of George Bush, to finally emerge at the canal, where I was greeted by the most beautiful Chinese lanterns strung all along the canal. People were clustered everywhere having picncs and there was a pavillion with more lanterns and music. It was a magical night that I will never forget. That is one of the many surprises of travel.
I was in one of my favorite stores in Portland the other day, Ink and Peat, on N. Williams street, and I told the owner that her store was every bit aas beautiful as any I had seen in Paris. She thanked me and told me that made her day. I got to thinking of all the other wonderful places that I love in Portland, that remind me of France. Another favorite is Flutter, on Mississippi. That charming collection of unusual things would fit right in in Paris. And I never saw a more beautiful or stylish home decor shop in Paris than SAID interiors in Multnomah Village owned by my friend Sue Augustyn.
One day in Paris I wandered into a very upscale and expensive clothing store , and was sort of shocked to find myself in a store where the gorgeous dresses had price tags of over $3000. They made custom clothing and assurred me that they could have a dress ready in a matter of a few days. I came home and had a silk two piece outfit custom made at Cocoon Silk on NW 23rd for a fraction of the cost!
As for food, we are very lucky to live in city that values food and delicious baked goods. I can get luscious, dark drinking chocolate at my favorite Cacao or Alma Chocolates, the best croissants at Little T bakery on Division or Fleur de Lis in Hollywood. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I am very happy to be living in a city that has so much to offer!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

These dolls are more of the work by artist Maissa Toulet www.maissatoulet.fr, who I met at the Brocante on Sunday. The next week I went back, hoping to purchase some of her art, but she was not there and wrote later that her kids had wanted to to something more fun than sit with her as she sold art! I can't blame them, but I was sorry to have missed seeing her again.
This gives you some idea of the amazing array of buttons, ribbons, trims, etc that were for sale at Ultramod, another of my favorite stores in Paris. I did not buy buttons, but couldn't resist some ribbons, and it was hard to know when to stop! This is a very old store and worth the trip to find it. Nearby is a small drogerie that sells great cards and shopping bags.
Another "taken through the window" photo, so excuse the quality. I loved the variety of jeweled pins on this pillow and could have bought them all, just because I love sparkly things. I was in heaven in my neighborhood, as there were many, many jewelry stores nearby, but sorry, they mostly only sold in wholesale. Next time I want to come on a buying trip. Too bad I don't have a store...
This nieghborhood looks out of place in modern Paris, but it was spared from the wrecking ball some time ago, and remains a part of the past, moving into the present. It is by Place St. Marthe, and now lots of small ethnic restaurants are opening and the Bohos have surely discovered it, or will soon. I would definitely come back and spend more time here. I only heard about it the day before I left, from a charming English woman named Kathy, who I met over dinner at Chez Omar. If you like couscous, this is the place to go.

paris au revoir

Home again, home again, and I realize how easy it is to post to my blog, now that I don't have to go to Mc Do's and listen to the loud rap music as I try to concentrate on what I am doing. I sort of miss that, but it is so nice to be home, back with family that I missed, and who missed me!
My niece asked me what I miss about France, and when I think about it, there are many things.
I miss the excitement of BIG EVENTS, like the Tour de France, where this young boy sat on the light post for over an hour, waiting to see the riders pass by. It was very hot, and he was thirsty, but each time his parents asked him if he wanted to get down, he resolutely said "non". He had the best view of all of us, and he was not about to give it up. I'm glad I was there,too.
I miss the quirky sights of the city, though Portland is a pretty quirky place! This three man band came down the street on the day I was waiting to get into my locked apartment. They played a jolly tune and it cheered me up. Another morning I was out early and heard a different kind of trio practicing in the park. I love spontaneous live music, and I miss the Metro musicians, and the hauntingly beautiful clarinet player by the Place des Voges.
This was one of my favorite windows, perhaps because I am so into stenciling right now, after taking a wonderful online stencil class with Maryanne Moss from dispatch from LA. It was the window of a GAP store. There were several more as well, and made me want to go spray some of my windows at home. Well, maybe not...
I especially miss my favorite bakery, Pain et des Idees very near the Canal St Martin. Everything was delicious and they were so friendly, always cheerfully correcting my pronunciation. They made a wonderful apricot or white peach tarte on a puff pastry base covered in frangipane. Yum. Maybe I will have to try to recreate that at home.
So much to love about France! Maybe I will do a few more postings of my french photos, then it is back to art, which is why I started this blog in the first place!