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!


  1. Thanks, Cynthia, for more Paris photos and stories. I never get tired of seeing and hearing about your trip. How fortunate we are to have so much French culture in Portland.

  2. Thanks, Paula. I always appreciate your comments and will get some more photos posted just for you! Yes, we are lucky to live in the "Paris of the US" as one woman described it.

  3. I have only read my first entry about your Paris adventure and already it is taking me back there. My parents lived in Paris for 2 years and my Mother lived your life of leisure and adventure there. I visited twice while they were there and, of course, loved it!

    Lenall Siebenaler