Paris Diaries // 01

Funny how one can fully intend on documenting all the things one does in Paris, yet only find the motivation to write about misshapen pastries. I’m about two weeks into my stay in Paris and I’ve been dutifully taking photos as I go. Something must be done with them. So – bullet points it is.

  • Seeing the six tapestries of La Dame et la licorne at the Musée de Cluny. One of those works of art that is even more impressive in person – we call that the anti-Mona Lisa (oh shit shots fired what’s she gonna do stab me with her eyebrows).

  • Obligatory traipse up the stairs of Shakespeare and Co. It’s cliché, but I bought A Moveable Feast there last time I was there and it changed my life in a Wal-Mart parking lot on New Year’s Eve. Hemingway is the Worst but A Moveable Feast was the right thing at the right time. I read a bit of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin in the upstairs reading room. Spent another afternoon reading a beaten volume on Norwegian history. Found a note from a Kaleido writer on the bulletin board. Left clumsy notes of my own above the typewriter. And those are all my Shakespeare and Co. stories.
  • Lining up for Mulholland Drive with no inclination as to what you’re about to see, then walking home with no inclination as to what you’ve just seen.

  • The classiest scratch ‘n’ sniff of all, Le Grand Musée du Parfum, for an introduction to a sense that I find far removed from the cerebral, making for an evocative experience that transported me from Europe in the days of the plague (whooo plaaaague) to modern perfume labs. I smelled so many smells, you guys.

  • Having your lazy afternoon at the Champ de Mars interrupted by a the rehearsal of a huge ass Russian festival feat. football players dancing in unison with batons, a woman singing just off key, and a short film about world peace with music from the Jurassic Park soundtrack, not to mention “Johnny” from “Ireland” who wants to know what drinks you like and if you like to drink and do you want to have some drinks with him

  • A voyeuristic wander through the 14è and finding architectural details, communal gardens, shops full of old knick knacks…
  • Jardins at the Grand Palais – an exhibition on the evolution of gardens with surprise wooden sculptures by Yoshihiro Suda in the corners, sun prints by Anna Atkins, moody photographs by Yann Monel, and more 17th century garden plans than my 10 yo wannabe architect heart could take. Also two meticulously collected piles of pollen. Art.

  • Morning people-watch at a café, dipping a flaky croissant into a hot chocolate, playing that old game, tourist or local?
  • Accidentally walking 3km toward the Bois de Vincennes along La Coulée Verte, an old rail line transformed into a very long trail.
  • Picnics, dinners, and drinks that mean nothing and everything at the same time. Minutia that build up into an era of one’s life…nostalgia eats this shit up.
  • One dead pigeon is unfortunate, two is a sign from the maker.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean followed by kebab + fries + Samouraï sauce in the dingy upstairs seating area of a narrow little shop…followed by drinks in a stony alcove of a bar that you’d never want to see in daylight, while a guy and a girl switch off playing guitar in the corner to no one in particular and 80s music blasts in the main part of the bar where normal people are sitting.

  • Being caught off guard by All That Jazz and its efficient cinematography, unexpected depth, and rhythmic interwoven editing. I may have enjoyed the cutting room scenes too much – seeing a KEM, 35mm benches, and synchronizers in their glory days is like seeing a college photo of your grandfather.

  • Disneyland Paris where dreams come true and little girls wear pink embroidered shirts that say time has no meaning here. Where you can stroll through an exaggerated version of Hollywood on your vacation from Hollywood and then be shrunken down into a land made of toys and then take a picture with Dingo or Tic et Tac (Goofy and Chip & Dale, respectively – isn’t language beautiful).
  • Summer nights in the northern hemisphere where the sun doesn’t set until it’s nearly midnight, and you wonder where the day’s gone.

Stay tuned for a long weekend in Aix-en-Provence, and whatever else I wake up with the urge to do. There are no plans, time has no meaning here, and that’s the best anyone could ask for.

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