Monday, May 31, 2010

Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie.

The Palais de la Cite was the royal palace from the 10th to the 14th century...(until the royals moved to the Louvre). It is now the French Palace of Justice. The Palais houses the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) and the Conciergerie which includes the prison cell of Marie-Antoinette...I was not inspired to take photos inside the Conciergerie.

The Sainte-Chapelle was built between 1242 and 1248 to display the relics of the Passion of Christ. The Crown of Thorns was purchased in 1239 and was the most famous relic of the Chapel.

I actually had to take a deep breath before taking this photo.
There's "something" special about Sainte-Chapelle. Inside the Lower Chapel.

Lower Chapel was used by the palace workers.
The King's fleur-de-lis symbol.
The Upper Chapel with 15 Stained Glass Windows was used by the Royals.
Upper Chapel includes statues of the 12 apostles of Christ.

The 15 windows tell the story from Genesis through the resurrection of Christ.

The Palace of Justice today.
Inside the Palace Gates.

Sainte-Chapelle and the Conciergerie are all that remain from the oldest palace of the kings of France.

Friday, May 28, 2010


"I never want to see you again." my secret love tells me face to face.
"I deserve it." I think to myself as he walks me to the metro.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!" -Sir Walter Scott

I am free to escape to Disneyland-Paris.
Inside Discoveryland, Frontierland, and Adventureland, I forget about the mistakes of Fantasyland.

Disneyland Paris, changed the name from Euro Disney in 1994. Am I the only one that still called it "Euro Disney" in 2010!?!

Disneyland Paris.

The beginning of A perfect day!






"The New Generation of Friends"

"It's a Small World"...afterall.

Disneyland-Paris, just 30 minutes outside of Paris by train, is the perfect place to make an adventure that will last forever.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

French Language Frustration - Avior (to have)

French lessons begin again, tonight.

I turn to review the auxiliary verb avoir, which simply means to have.

For this one verb and all the other verbs I must learn, there are 6 version under each of the following categories:


I stare at the page, of over 60 versions for one phrase. My head begins to spin.

"We ARE going to master this language!" my kick-ass attitude whispers in my ear.

I pull out my study note cards and begin to write...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Je dois améliorer mon français.

"No, please stay with me." I asked my friend, just before the interview began.
"But I have to leave." he explained.
"I need you to translate for me." I pleaded.
"This is part of the process." he kindly explained as he left the room.

The interview began:
"Where are you from?" the man asked politely in French.
"I'm from Las Vegas, but I live in Paris right now." I explained in French...easy enough.

The interview continued as a simple conversation for the first 10 minutes. Then turned one sided when I understood his French questions, but could not find all the French words in my mind to put together using proper grammar and correct pronunciation. And even when I could find the words, my tongue did not cooperate in speech.

He continued the interview, slowly and politely finishing my sentences and easily forming sentences from my stuttering and incorrect pronunciations.

"You understand French, but you cannot speak it." He explained in French. "You must be able to have a conversation and not only listen. You will need to participate in the language." he continued. "There is a method and a process for learning French and you must go to school, speak, listen and write French if you are going to master the language. " He explain not speaking one word of English and I understood. I could only smile and say, "Yes, I understand." in French.
"I will go and get your friend." he concluded in French with a friendly smile as he left the room.

My first rejection in Paris happened today. Not one word was spoken in English, but I knew I was rejected. The same butterflies filled my stomach and the same welling up of tears were caused by the French words spoken. The same "I'll show him! I won't give up!" (in English) kick-ass attitude came from inside of me, stomped the butterflies and drained the well of tears. "I WILL LEARN TO SPEAK FRENCH...YOU JUST WATCH!!" my kick-ass attitude from within insisted.

As my friend returned, I shook my head. He sincerely apologized for the rejection and walked me to the metro.
My first stop off the metro was back to school for more hours of French lessons....starting Thursday.

Je dois améliorer mon français! I must improve my French!

Je vais améliorer mon français! I will improve my French!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oasis Champs Elysees.

Today was an amazing afternoon on the Champs Elysees, is all I can say! Thanks to Nature Capitale :

An amazing agricultural experience.

Annie (pilates instructor and friend, with a perfect body) and our new friends.

French Oyster Farmers on the Champs Elysees. The absolute best oysters I've ever tasted.
Who says the French are not Friendly?

Annie and the Apple Cider Press Man.

The middle of Avenue Champs Elysees!

Oasis Champs Elysees.

Bee hives...uh, I think.

Ah, the Coloza/Canola fields return to the Champs Elysees.

A cafe just alongside the Oasis.
Ah, This is Paris. So much to love next to the Oasis Champs Elysees.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Catching Up with Life in Paris.

Once again I feel as if I am trying to catch up with life. Meanwhile, I will catch up the blog by writing to remember a few things that have passed.
Manuel was his name.
The Funeral was on Wednesday.
He committed suicide.
His family of 3 was the only family at his service.
The neighbors in the building were there for the family.
They needed our strength. The wife he left behind empty, his daughter, weak and thinning, cried until exhaustion, and could barley stand, and his son, empty...left behind.
They needed our strength.
I still expect to see him in the lobby when I leave the building.
The lobby is silent and empty.
I wish the word did not exist.
Please don't do it. Please don't hurt yourself.
Your are loved more than you realize.
Hope does exist. Please get help.
Hold on for just a day at a time.
You are not alone.
I would say.
Suicide. Go Away.
I wish the word would go away and let the loved ones stay.

With a dark cloud overhead, the past few days also included, catching up with UPS: A distraction for a while, Running all over Paris to Track down a UPS shipment of Books. Adrian wrote all about here:
What's up, UPS? Are we poets and just don't know it?

A wonderful dinner in Paris with a friend has also come and gone...No time or energy to blog about it...

Le Fontain de Mars. was a definite 5-Yum Rating!

Catching up with life, includes blogging about just Hanging out with a friend along the Canal on a Saturday afternoon.

A relaxing afternoon has come and gone, but I'm sure there will be more!

Flea market browsing too...over the weekend.

Just hanging Paris.

Catching up with the other side of life in Paris, still includes trying to figure out how to make a "Real Life" in the City of Light.
Maybe I'll figure it out...or maybe this is "It".
Maybe there's really nothing to catch up with after all.
Maybe this moment is all we really have anyway.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Movie, Sunshine and a Friend.

As the Cannes Film Festival takes place in the south of France from 12 May to 23 May, local theaters in Paris offer reduced rates of 3.5o Euro on all films all day and night from 12 May to 18 May.

A friend invited me to see "Robin Hood" at Bercy Village, in one of the nicest theaters I've seen in Paris. Afterwards we just "hung out" at a random cafe.
Bercy Village Cinema.

Bercy Village Cinema Lounge.

A random cafe in the afternoon.

Just "Hangin Out".

For a little while, a movie, Paris Spring sunshine at a cafe, and a good friend pushed away the dark cloud of yesterday that was hanging over my head.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Finding the Light.

Looking for the Light.

Her eyes were empty as she looked at me.
It was as if her soul was missing, but her body was still standing.
I didn't know when I saw her last week, that her father just died.
She's only 23 years old.
I just found out the sad news.
And now, a part of my soul too is missing the light from her father.
Almost daily I saw him in our building, vacuuming the stairs, moping the floors, cleaning the windows.

He told me where the post office was when I first arrived in Paris.
He told me the neighbors were complaining that I was painting the grass white, when I spray painted my chairs in the back garden.
He helped me when I needed help.
He knew when I left the building and he knew when I came back.
He was our building concierge.
I didn't even know his first name, but I greeted him daily:
"Bonjour Monsieur."
"Bonjour Mademoiselle.", he would say.

He quickly moved the vacuum out of the way when I wanted to pass.
He stopped mopping the marble floors and just watched as I tip-toed out the door.

And now he's gone.

I heard the vacuum outside my door this morning. I cried, because I knew it wasn't him.
When I left the building today, the floors were wet. His wife was mopping the floor.
"I'm so sorry." I said to her as I gave her an American embrace.
She kissed me on both cheeks.
I looked her in the eyes, holding back my tears. "I'm so sorry." I said again in French.
I tip-toed across the wet floor.

Life is so fragile.
It hurts so much when the light of another is taken from our soul.
What are we supposed to do when we are left behind?
How do we live when they have died?

My friend tells me: You must live Florence, just as they lived, you must live and you will live.
In some countries Death is a celebration.
Maybe he has no pain now.
Maybe he's in a better place.
Maybe his life begins again.

I can't find his light in my soul right now.
Maybe its there.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shopping on Sunday?!

Shopping on Sunday.

"What are you doing?" my French neighbor asked surprised as I entered the lobby of our apartment building with 5 grocery bags.
I looked puzzled by the question and wondered what she meant.
"Shopping?! Are you shopping?" she asked, just as puzzled as I seemed to be by her question.
"Yes." I smiled and answered. "I've done too much shopping."
"On Sunday?! All the shops are closed on Sunday. Where did you find a shop that's opened today? she wanted to know.

Yes, it's true all the grocery shops within a few blocks of our apartment building are closed on Sunday, but if you're willing to walk past the closest metro stop, on a Sunday, there's one grocery store that is now opened.

"The shop just past the metro." I explained - now understanding why the 3 French customers in line at the checkout each asked the cashier about the store hours.
"You are just like an American to shop on Sunday." she laughed.

"Yeah, almost a year in Paris, and I'm still an American." I thought to myself with a smile, as she helped me get my bags into the elevator.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nuit des Musées (Museum Night) in Paris.

For one night in May, museums throughout France (not just Paris) open their doors for free entry from around 6PM until 1AM. It's called "Nuit des Musées".

So tonight, I went to the official Museum Night website, clicked on "English" which was still mostly French and assembled an ambitious program for the night. Ambitious meaning, no way in one night could I possibly visit all the museums I clicked to "Add to my Programme".

I printed the itinerary and set out to visit the following:

1. Musee de L'Armee (Museum of the Army)
2. The Grand Palais I've always wondered what's under the big glass dome?
3. Musee National De L'Orangerie -a wonderful museum I jog past at the Jardin des Tuileries
4. Musee du Quai Branly (Africian exhibits recommended by a friend)
5. L'A ddresse Musee de la Poste (The Postal Museum...hmm?).
6. Les Arts Decoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts...interesting beauty? eye-candy?)

Stepping inside the Museum of the Army at night, felt as if we were in the midst of a night planning military mission. Walking through the corridors made me actually feel proud of once wearing the American Military uniform.

Staring at the stitches, embroidery and embellishments of the uniforms of the 1700 and 1800's, my mind wandered to who made the uniforms?, wore them? I also wondered why I was so happy to take off my uniform the day I retired and threw it in the trash? Then I remembered, I actually did keep one set of each uniform in a box. (Service Dress Blues, Blues and Battle Dress, I kept one set of each-I gave away my Mess-Dress formal dining uniform to a friend who still wears it today.)

Consumed by The Museum of the Army at night, there was only time to visit one more museum on my list, so I rushed across the Seine to finally see what was under the big glass dome of the Grand Palais...

Musee de l'Armee at des Invalides -Paris Museum Night.
Medieval Military,
A battle demonstration.
Napoleon's Army.
Museum Night, Paris. Rushing across the River Seine.
What? Is this it? I've always wanted to know what was under the beautiful glass dome of Palais Royal.
Tonight there was nothing! If you've wondered the same, click here to take a virtual tour.
Grand Palais Dome at Night.

Nuit des Musées in Paris is yet another absolute "must do" when in Paris. Sure there were crowds, but they all moved smooth and quickly-the night was beautiful. Don't miss Museum Night next night only!