An obsession with Paris

The Tuileries Garden in Spring
The Tuileries Garden in Spring

Perhaps it is because I have itchy feet or maybe it is a form of escapism, but I have recently become obsessed with finding and reading books featuring Paris. Although reading fiction has always been a passion of mine it is non-fiction that holds my attention at the moment, in particular memoirs, essays and narrative history.

Currently on my beside table is Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas, a light and easy book to read especially if you have a sweet tooth. If you like more depth and less self indulgence then this book is not for you. Amy works for an advertising agency and writes copy for Louis Vuitton, she loves chocolate and all things sweet and likes to make comparisons between her former life in New York and life in Paris. I have not yet finished reading it. Some of my favourite books featuring Paris that I have finished reading are:

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. A collection of 23 essays and journal entries chronicling the time he spent living in Paris with his wife and son. Paris to the Moon is a humorous portrayal of life in France, filled with personal observations and cultural commentary.

Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke. I loved this book. Witty, informative and highly entertaining this book is a joy to read.

Joan DeJean’s book How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City. 17th Century Paris. The inclusion of illustrations from that period provides the reader with glimpses of life in Paris several hundred years ago, before Haussmann stripped the city of medieval character to create the wide boulevards and squares that we recognise today.

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris by John Baxter. I loved following John through the streets of Paris, he provides a fascinating view of Paris with which I am not at all familiar. Baxter refers to Hemingway and other authors frequently and after reading all the stories contained within ’The Most Beautiful Walk in the World’ Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast is on my must read list.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. A true story that started when the author met and fell in love with a French man. Each chapter interwoven with delicious food and recipes making this a delightful read for anyone who loves food and dreams of romance in Paris.

Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating: From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love. Journalist Ann Mah’s husband is given a diplomatic assignment in Paris, a dream come true but then her husband is called away to Iraq for a year and Ann is left alone.  To contend with her feelings of loneliness Ann decides to explore France and seek out regional dishes such as cassoulet, boeuf Bourguignon and crepes, delving into the history and stories behind these well known dishes.

The Only Street in ParisLife on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino.  A tour of the author’s favourite street in Paris the Rue des Martyrs. Sciolino’s focus on this one particular street gave me a complete picture of what it must be like to live on Rue des Martyrs. I enjoyed reading her stories about the locals who lived and worked on Rue des Martyrs and the history of the buildings.

Macarons and chocolate, Paris
Macarons and chocolate, Paris

 

Early morning markets, Paris
Early morning markets, Paris
Fountain of Apollo, Versailles
Fountain of Apollo, Versailles
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Puppy therapy

Whenever I see puppies I feel happy. Their sweet puppy breath, little pink toes and fat round tummies make me want to sweep them all into my arms. I watch them play, they’re silly and often uncoordinated as they wrestle with toys, blankets and each other. When they sleep in a puppy pile my heart melts.

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”

Bern Williams

Taking pleasure in the simple things

On a recent stroll around the lake I noticed a plethora of spider webs dripping in dew and sparkling in the sunlight. The delicate webs were clinging to trees, long grass and anything else that would hold those sticky strands. Each creation varied greatly in shape and size and I couldn’t help but admire them although had I walked through one I may have felt differently.

It is mornings like this that make me realise how much I love being close to nature and how the simplest things can put a smile on my face.

Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider’s web?
Oh, no,” said Dr. Dorian. “I don’t understand it. But for that matter I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.
What’s miraculous about a spider’s web?” said Mrs. Arable. “I don’t see why you say a web is a miracle – it’s just a web.
Ever try to spin one?” asked Dr. Dorian.

― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

Wordless Wednesday: Winter beauty

Coloured leaves
Seasonal colour
Clear blue skies and reflections on lake
Clear blue skies
Frosty morning
Frosty morning

Travel theme: rain

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa at Where’s my backpack is apt. When travelling, I have a knack of attracting heavy rain either directly or indirectly to the point where my family suggested that I holiday in drought affected areas. When visiting Los Angeles in the early nineties we experienced rain that led to flash flooding, then there was heavy rain and flooding in Europe when I visited in 1999 plus several holidays to New Zealand have resulted in very soggy shoes. Nothing much has changed with rainy weather impacting on my last three holidays but I don’t mind the rain and I love the drama that rain clouds inject into a landscape.

View of Arthur's Seat from Calton Hill, Edinburgh
A rainy afternoon in Edinburgh
Heavy rain over Edinburgh
Watching the rain roll in over Edinburgh
Rainy day in Venice
A spot of colour on a rainy day in Venice
Rain clouds and a high tide, Venice
Wet feet in Venice
Gardenstown before a Spring shower of rain
Gardenstown in the Scottish Highlands

Our little old man’s favourite place

Our little man is slowing down, at 10 years of age Bundy is content to relax in his favourite spots for a large portion of the day. The list of favourite spots now includes our three seater sofa, thankfully it is covered by a throw rug to maintain a decent level of cleanliness. Recently Bundy suffered an ear infection and sadly he has experienced a loss of hearing. This has made him a little more velcro-like, never far from one of us, and he has taken to relaxing on our lounge with regularity. Once upon a time I would have chased him off the lounge, with two dogs in a small house there had to be some boundaries. Now he makes himself at home and all I can do is smile and take a photo. As I write this he is curled up on the lounge beside me, sleeping soundly whilst wearing his snazzy jersey to stay warm. I am a sucker and proud of it.