La Parisienne bookseller along the Seine. This was one of my first shots on the morning after we arrived. She had a large stand of books but she also played with painting while she waited for customers. I especially like The Louvre behind her across the river as if it were her background sketch.
This may be my favorite character in all of Paris. The woman with her dog and her man, who’s on the sidewalk, drawing. Or something. Sometimes she and the dog watched passing Paris and sometimes they just watched him. Priceless.
Bocci Ball players. I have no idea what the rules of this game are, but they spent considerable time standing and staring at the balls. I especially liked the splash of red sweater on the statue.
An afternoon nap in the Luxembourg Gardens. I loved the bare elbow pointing to bare knee.
Students taking a break at the Jeu de Paume Museum. Students wiggling; teacher taking a nap; weird statue doing what weird statues do in the Impressionist world.
. Young man at the Louvre, holding up the inverted glass pyramid all by himself.
Very famous La Galette des Moulin bakery on Montmartre. Not so famous people walking by. What makes this interesting is the back of my husband’s head and shoulder reflected in the window corner.
And the weirdest characters of all…Cliff and Janet trying to take a selfie. That’s what you get for giving grandparents a camera.
The everlasting, ever-watchful gargoyles who guard from the towers of Notre Dame
The headless bishops who once sat above the portal of Notre Dame with heads attached (and which were chopped off in the Revolution), and who now reside in the Roman-baths basement over which was built the residence of the abbots of Cluny in in mid-12th Century and is now the magnificent Middle-Ages Cluny museum.
The door to a fortune-teller and herbalist on the street behind Notre Dame, replete with cross and stuffed birds, to visit in case you’re not sure your prayers will be answered.
The feet of St. Peter at the church of Saint Sulpice whose toes have been kissed down to nubs by centuries of worshippers.
St. Denis, the patron saint of Paris, who, after his head was chopped off (see bloody axe), picked it up and went off through the streets, still preaching. Now that must have been a sight to behold!
Voltaire, famed philosopher of the Enlightenment, standing guard over his tomb in the crypt of the Pantheon.
Man walking through walls in Montmartre (Passe-Muraille) based on a short story by French novelist Marcel Aymé. To fláner means to wander aimlessly, more or less, and that’s what we were doing on Montmartre — aimlessly wandering — when we came upon this wall.
Really, I think I have to say the Best Day Ever, at least for this week, was Christmas Eve. I have a lot of “best days.” Walking in Paris – that was a best day, several best days; blood-red sunset at the farm – that was pretty best; walking in a Hawaiian rain forest with my sisters – pretty incredible. As I said, I’ve had a lot of them, too many to enumerate and that’s lucky. But yesterday? Pretty best.
In general, our Christmas was fairly low-key. Like many of you, life was over-the-top busy this fall. We were too tired to have a Christmas party or attend ones we were invited to. I managed to keep up fairly well with the Advent posts at the church site. We were even too tired to shop which meant Amazon.com came through to the rescue. But last night, as Christmas Eve tends to be, was magical.
For starters, here’s our living room with presents under the tree and lights:
These are the decorations we use most years (the tiny, twinkling rice lights look like fairies let loose in the branches) but last night the light and the fire and the presents under the tree (plus Santa and a rocking horse) and filled stockings waiting to be plundered looked pretty festive.
We stood under the mistletoe as we do every year – usually several times every year – but this year I decided to try for a selfie. Now. Grandmas and selfies aren’t quite the same as, say, a twenty-eight year old and selfie, but we managed even if a little blurred.
Outside was amazing too. We had a layer of snow plus an overcast sky so the two reflecting off each other made the light soft and hazy. Cliff called me outside to see a shimmering night. He was grilling his favorite Christmas Eve dinner: surf and turf.
We turned on the outside garage light for the shot, so all the light isn’t just snow/clouds. But it was fire and good smells and magical.
And then we had dinner: steaks and crab cakes and grilled oysters and large shrimp and small lobster tails. And a lot of butter. And wine. You’ll notice there’s nothing green on the table: baked potato, steak, and seafood.
We had fun. Excessive? Yep. You could say that. Indulgent? Yes, that too.
As an addendum for those of you who like oysters: Cliff learned to grill oysters rather than fight to get the raw ones open. A couple of minutes on each side and they pop right open. And with a dribble of champagne vinegar (which is the bottle in front of the empty bowl set there to gather fragments and shells) are quite lovely.
Merry Christmas one and all and thank you all for the gifts of friendship and family and love you bring to my life.
Okay. I’ll end here. I’m getting to sound like Tiny Tim.
Foucault’s pendulum, named after the French physicist Léon Foucault, is a simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. While it had long been known that the Earth rotated, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment.
The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in February 1851 in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory. A few weeks later Foucault made his most famous pendulum when he suspended a 28 kg brass-coated lead bob with a 67 meter long wire from the dome of the Panthéon, Paris. The plane of the pendulum’s swing rotated clockwise 11° per hour, making a full circle in 32.7 hours.(Wikipedia)
We saw this when we visited the Pantheon a few years back. What a sign! I stood and watched and took photos as I watched the pendulum inch itself along the degree marks. Foucault’s pendulum had tucked itself away in my knowledge bank for a long time, a miracle I wanted to see. And seeing it felt like I’d completed some circuit of my own.
Here’s a photo from our trip to Paris. We’d climbed up the famous hill to Sacre Cour on a holiday (silly us) and after visiting the church, we wandered through the commercial district of Montmartre. You remember, that famous area where Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, et. all, lived at one time or another. The Moulin Rouge sits just down the hill.
I took a shot of this bakery, La Galette des Moulins, because it’s said Gertrude Stein shopped there. I took several shots, but this is my favorite. You can see the bread lined up on the window and a window reflection of a lovely red restaurant with a row of shining lamps. And in the bottom corner, just behind the bread, there’s a reflection of my husband Cliff, watching me as I take the photo.