Jul 14, 2010

Memories Of Paris On Bastille Day. Things French At SSG Manor.

If you happen to be in France and reading my blog, I hope you are having a suitably relaxed day today and are enjoying the national holiday.  I have a reader from Limburg, Belgium who stopped by today and I  hope you're enjoying the festivities too because Bastille Day is officially celebrated there as well, since WWI to be precise, so Wikipedia tells me.

I've decided to observe the day by devoting this post to memories and things French.  So, slip on those ugg boots and grab a blanket and curl up for my trip down memory lane.  

I've been to France once.  The year was 2008 and it was for our honeymoon.  It was April.  To paraphrase Cole Porter, I did love Paris in the Springtime.

We stayed at The Westin and these are the first photos I took in Paris on our first morning there.

There were photos from our room window.  We had a little balcony.  Emphasis on the word little, there was enough room for about one foot and  not much else.  I stepped out one  morning in my bath robe to take these photos.  I like to think I was inspired by Bridget Bardot or perhaps Audrey Hepburn.  The reality was very different.  Think tourist wearing glasses and with shower fresh hair trailing droplets on the ground.

I was struck by how different the light is in Europe.  Softer.  Also, the buildings are all a different colour.     The colour that I used to achieve by dipping white paper in strong coffee for school projects that called for 'history' or 'pirates'.  

The greenery more vivid.  It's hard to explain but to me, it seemed that there was never consideration of water restrictions and the planting of native and hardy water conserving plants when French gardens were planned.

The roof tiles are a dove blue-grey that I have never seen in Australia.

There is the blend of architectural styles that differ by centuries (plural) that you don't see in a country that is around 200 years old (in terms of European occupation).  

Walking the streets was like walking a precise maze.  There was a geometric pattern to the streets.  

Unlike many other cities I've visited, Paris seemed to have a height restriction on its buildings.  With no skyscrapers in sight, the city stretched out before me like in the opening sequence of Moulin Rouge.  

I love the 2001 film starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.  It's magic for a winter's evening, to be transported to Baz Lurhman's vision of old Paris.

The Eiffel Tower prominent in the sky line from almost everywhere in the city.

From the Eiffel Tower, the full splendour of a palace could truly be appreciated.

From Paris, we took a side trip to Eperney. Where better than here to be formally introduced to champagne?

Firstly at the house of Mercier.

And then at the Moet and Chandon tasting room.

Scrolling through my photos and uploading them here brought back many happy memories.  Dinner at the Lido, eclairs at Laduree, getting by with my trusty map and phrase book.  Oh the irony of ordering Chinese food from Chinese store owners.... in bad French.

The spirit of France is alive and well in the Manor.  The Tour de France is on television and the race updates are on the radio.  I heard some French opera for the first today on the drive in to work.  A few bottles of champagne are stowed away, awaiting a great occasion (or any good excuse) to be uncorked.

The French quarter (give or take) of my wardrobe was observing the day rugged up in sleeper bags against the cold Sydney winter.

And choosing to stay out of the rain.

Those work horse perfumes and cosmetics were taking huddled together close to the heater, in a bid to keep warm.

Paris (not The Hilton), you were a gracious hostess.  I hope to visit you again soon.  Hopefully armed with more fluent French.  Come What May.


  1. Oh I do love Paris too. It's one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to - so cosmopolitan, so steeped in history, so chic. We like staying in the 7th - nothing like walking around the corner and being at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Surprisingly residential too! Oh to be going back...

  2. Happy Bastille Day! Lovely pics of Paris. Great place for a honeymoon. Put your vivid internal dialogue to good use and contribute some verse
    to my poetry blog .

  3. I adore this city. I never thought about the fact there is no skyscrapers...you're probably right that this was done on purpose.

    I'm off there at the end of August...James' treat. I love how relaxed everything is. My first choice of living abroad was always France but I sucked at French...so I picked London...go figure.

  4. Dear SS what a lovely post on a city I am soon to be acquainted with.
    Mr K and I are off to the UK on Monday to visit v homesick 18 year old au pair (slave) daughter.
    As a pick me up for her we are taking her to Paris for 4 days and we are definitely heading to Lauderee for a sweet treat.
    Do you have any other rec's for places to eat?
    We are staying in the 6th arrondissement.
    Kate Bx

  5. christine: good for you! Enjoy.

    Kate B: have a wonderful trip. I'm sorry I can't offer any other suggestions for a place to eat where you will be staying.

    SSG xxx

  6. Oh I agree, I love Paris and for all the reasons you mentioned. I remember standing in line to get in to a particular restaurant at about 10pm one evening and the street was heaving with people, we were all chatting away and a friend said "just stop and look up for a minute" and we all stood for about a minute just staring at how beautiful the buildings were and what an amazing setting we were in. It is truly a gorgeous city.


  7. I loved Paris. Past tense, because I've only been there once and can't imagine when I'll get back. The bread. The coffee. So many of my memories of travel revolve around food...

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!


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