Paris, je t’aime.

It has been such a long time since I have posted!  Everything at work has been going non-stop since I left for Paris in mid-March.  I was there for work, but I did have some time to explore.

I visited Le Maraisa district in Paris, during my stay.  I came back with the most beautiful leather bag (the “Felix”) by Cécile Jeanne and had an enormous, gorgeous salad in the Place des Vosges at a little café.  I went to Paris in 1999 with one of my favorite people, Madame King.  She was my French teacher in high school and is a friend now.  It was so nice to reminisce to myself while walking around, and at almost every turn, I thought of Ms. King!  I had déja vu when I walked around the Place des Vosges, seeing Issey Miyake’s Paris headquarters and having an espresso at a café.  I remember buying L’Eau d’Issey, my “signature scent,” during that trip, and seeing Issey Miyake’s name at the Place des Vosges made me feel like a very sophisticated Parisienne.

As I was watching the sunset over the Seine, I fell in love with Paris again.  It has been so long since I have been there that I had forgotten how beautiful and magical it truly is.

Below are lots of photos.  Enjoy!

a room with a view, of the roof

Notre Dame is impressive, impending, and gorgeous.  I just wish I had taken my tripod with me for some really good night shots.  Perhaps next time.

Notre Dame de Paris
Quasimodo had a pretty sweet crib.
beautiful bridge over the Seine
street performances are everywhere

I went up to Montmartre, where the Basilica of Sacré Coeur is located.  I ended up at the Abbesses station, and these little chairs just stood out to me.  I love how the yellow lights mimic the chairs below.

At Abbesses station, in Montmartre.
locks of love, over the Seine

I love graffiti.  I know, I know, it’s destructive…  But it can be so beautiful.  There are so many talented graffiti artists out there.  I just hope they leave Notre Dame alone.

little girl in a red coat
i love graffiti!
and more graffiti!
a bug, in Montmartre

Here’s a barge.

near Musée d’Orsay

And here’s me!  Yes, I really was there.

The Natural History Museum was fabulous.  The art nouveau design of the grounds and buildings made me feel like I was strolling through the park in 1890.

there’s me in a red coat! and a snow leopard, at the Natural History Museum
Jardin at the Natural History Museum
i just loved these flowers. poppies, i think.
lonely flowers at the zoo

I think cemeteries are beautiful.  I have so many more photos from the Montparnasse Cemetery, but here are two:

at Montparnasse Cemetery

The final resting place of Sartre and de Beauvoir.  Read The Second Sex.  It is a foundation of feminist literature.

at Montparnasse Cemetery

One thing about Parisians is that they love birds.  This guy was wearing roller blades (who knew people still wear them?) and feeding these little birds outside Notre Dame.

feeding the birds

Lastly, I like to collect icons from cathedrals.  Obviously I haven’t been strict about getting one in every cathedral I’ve visited (and I do have a large collection of jade coins from Asia), but cathedrals that have moved me in some way are generally memorialized with a charm icon.

various icons

The cross is a Jerusalem cross from Israel that was a gift from my Aunt Billie.  Aunt Billie was a world traveler.  I always admired her independent spirit and fondness for the exotic.  She came back from far away lands with souvenirs for our entire family.  She lived in Frankfurt, Germany, after the War, and there is a great story about her getting on the wrong train and ending up in East Germany.  When my cousin and I would visit her during the summer, she would always say “Schlaf Gut” (sleep well) when we went to bed.  She went to China in the late 70s, and I wish she was still here so that we could swap stories about China.  I remember when she brought my mother an Army/Navy lace tablecloth, which I promptly burned with one of those German candle carousels (probably from Aunt Billie) during Christmas dinner.  Luckily, I went to Hong Kong in ’99 and picked one up as a replacement.  If only I could chat with her again!

The icon next to the cross is from the Cathedral at Chartres, which I visited with Ms. King.  Next is one from Mont St. Michel.  The center one is from the Basilica of Sacré Coeur that I picked up during my most recent trip, along with the blue Virgin Mary.  I picked up the Virgin Mary because I saw one on a chain at a retail store for $160.  I paid 5 euros.

The icons from Chartres and Sacré Coeur mean the most to me since I lit candles for loved ones at those cathedrals.  I feel that the meaning behind those candles is still with me since I have a tangible memory of it.