Saturday, April 22, 2006

Paris in the springtime

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young woman, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.


Paris in the springtime. Hands down. Fall is nice, and winter is good too; and of course in the summer it's a complete headache. But Paris in the spring is so freaking lovely that it's got me quoting Hemingway, fer gawd's sake, even though my bank hasn't transfered my earnings to my American account which means I'm running out of cash right quick (I'm going to have to call them up and yell at them. There's a reason why when people say "France" the words that jump to mind are "romance", "wine", "art", etc, and not "organization", "pragmatism", or "work ethic".)

But even being strapped for cash in Paris has an air of bohemian adventure to it (until you get hungry, that is). How very...Henry Miller of me. I sat in the Jardin du Luxembourg yesterday, exhausted from a nightmarish train ride (see the complaints above), but the sun was shining and the lilacs blooming and children were playing Red Light Green Light, which in French seems to be "Un, deux, trois, soleil!" I sat under a tree and finished Mes mauvaises pensées.

...I'm alone in the city and I'm alive, you see, at the Place de la Concorde, I'm alive, the Tuileries arcades, I'm alive, Place de Vendôme, I'm alive, Place des Victoires, I'm alive, I have a bond of love with Paris; I'm dazzled: the chestnut trees, the Louvre, the Seine, the towers; I'm dazzled by the words "I've found the heart of Paris."

I'm not too sure about the sense of s'etourdir, but you get the idea. It's more beautiful in French.

I spent too much money on books, as usual. Bought magazines at Violette and Co, which has replaced Les mots à la bouche as my favorite queer bookstore, because Violette is lesbian-run, for women. Said hello to the cats in Shakespeare and Co, and stumbled across a new favorite, The Abbey Bookstore, hidden away in the Latin Quarter; it's run by a friendly Canadian man who offers everybody coffee. It's organized according to the French system, that is, books are shelved where ever there's space, it's like a cramped maze of genres and authors all mixed up, and you literally step over books to peer at others that are piled into precarious towers. I made an amazing discovery there; a pristine 1890 edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry, in red tooled leather, with the pages still uncut. Which means in the last 100 years, no one's ever read it. It's the most depressing thing I've ever seen.

And now I'm off to buy up the rest of Nina Bouraoui's work. God, where am I going to put them all? And where am I going to get the money???

4 Comments:

At 6:44 PM, Blogger reasonably prudent poet said...

your post makes my heart flutter. will you be my pretend blogosphere girlfriend? i'll imagine us rummaging in bookstores and sniffing dusty old tomes together. until my real girlfriend gets back from australia in two weeks and gives me a reason not to sit forlornly on the computer all the time.

 
At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

When I was in Paris in the springtime, I was severely sleep-deprived, stingy, regularly lost, and carrying a heavy backpack with a bottle of wine in it. Also, I got a ticket in the metro station. On the bright side, it didn't start pouring rain until the instant the Thalys to Brussels pulled out of Gare du Nord.

So are you going to carry all these books as you backpack through Europe?

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Reasonably: I will totally be your pretend blogsophere girlfriend. Poets are by definition sexy...and forlorn, so I guess I can't help you out there!

Kevin: What on earth did you do in the Metro?? And hey, sleep deprivation never stop *me* from having a good time in Paris...in fact it was usually a result of a good time! Yeah, I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do with these books.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Reasonably: I will totally be your pretend blogosphere girlfriend. Poets are by definition sexy...and by definition forlorn too, I think, so I guess I can't help you out with that!

Kevin: What on earth did you do in the Metro?? I've been excercising remarkable restraint so far, but I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do with the stuff I already bought...

 

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