Friday, May 31, 2013

The Last Day of May

Design - "August"
Chart - "A Prairie Year II"
Designer - The Prairie Schooler
Fabric - 32 count Lambswool linen
Fibers - DMC - 2 strands over 2 threads
Started - 22 May 2013
Completed - 28 May 2013

In Paris the last day of May was cold and grey with a bitter little wind.
And, as luck would have it, we had outdoor activities planned.  So we bundled up and set off...
...for the Tuileries. 

A small part of the Tuileries has been taken over for the weekend by a garden show called "Jardins Jardin". 

While not on the scale or level of professionalism of the Chelsea Flower Show, it was fun to wander about.
The show gardens were modest in scale, and most included a water feature.
Look at the size of this olive tree! 
This was a pretty garden presentation.
And oh but were these 'rose balls' lovely.
One of the more creative ideas - a baobab shaped tree made of homes for mason bees.
Flower pots, watering cans, plants, bird houses, lawn mowers, gloves, chicken coops, tools, and twine - all for sale. 
Don't you love this gardener's outfit?  She is in complementary shades of blue from her head scarf to the tips of her blue shoes!
After taking in "Jardins Jardin" we walked to the Place de la Concorde.
And what did we see?  Another bride and groom!  Ah, May in Paris.

Here's the Obelisk.  It once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple. Muhammad Ali Pasha, the Wāli and Khedive of Egypt, gave two obelisks to France as a gift in 1829.  This one arrived in France in 1833.  King Louis-Philippe of France had it placed in the center of Place de la Concorde.

I've always though the Obelisk must be lonely so far from home, but perhaps it is not.

From the Place de la Concorde you can look down the Avenue des Champs Elysees all the way to the Arc du Triomphe.
We strolled down the Champs Elysees all the way to the Arc du Triomphe.

And while I saw thousands of people, including some willing to risk life and limb...
...the only one I recognized was General Charles de Gaulle striding into Paris after the Nazis had evacuated the city.
I'll end this post with another sign of spring - a sparrow parent with a newly fledged begging baby.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Sacred and the Secular

Here's my teaser.  Stay with me to the end of the post for a further explanation.
We began the day on the  Ile de la Cite with a visit to St. Chapelle.  When my mother and I were last here (1979) I think we were the only two people in the chapel.  It used to be a hidden gem of Paris, and off the radar of most tourists.  That is certainly not the case any longer.

I love St. Chapelle (1239-1248) as it is one of the few churches where the original artwork decorating the walls and ceiling is still evident. Louis VX commissioned it to hold the relics he'd brought back from the Crusades including the Crown of Thorns. 

The stained glass windows each tell a different story - Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Kings, etc., as well as the story of the life of King Louis VX.  The chapel was built by him for him and his family (he sat in a separate alcove removed from his mother and wife).  St. Chapelle is an exceptional work of art in so many ways. 

Notre Dame is just a short walk from St. Chapelle, so we headed there next.
It is probably most famous for its gargoyles and it's Rose Windows.
Here's a detail of one.
The cathedral is celebrating it's 850th birthday.  The organ is getting a tune-up, as are the steeple bells (Quasimodo would be so pleased!).
This little sparrow was perched on a statue near the door as we left.
Near the Cite metro stop there is a flower market.
It was not busy today, so it was pleasant to stroll around and look at all the plants.  The Parisians love to garden and there are garden shops everywhere.  I've noticed lots of rooftop gardens and most folks have a window box at the vary least.
Our last stop of the day.  The haberdashery department of Le Bon Marche department store. What a joy! Buttons, and beads, and yarn, and fabric, and ribbons, and zippers, and notions, and DMC, and Sajou silks.  As you can see from the first picture in the post, I treated myself - because really, who could not?
Le Bon Marche is amazing!  A department store that is still truly a department store.  The book department puts our Barnes and Noble to shame with literature from around the world.  You're inclined to read the latest book from Norway or Germany - no problem.  There was an amazing stationary store, restaurants on every level, and the men's department included a barber!  It was staffed to the gills - everyone wearing black of course.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Louvre and the Seine

I am probably deluding myself (who has time!), but I kitted up another stitch.
This one is a new small kit from Lizzie Kate.  We'll see how it goes.
Before I delve into "What I Did Today", I wanted to thank all the folks who have left comments and appear to enjoy following along on my Epic Adventure! 
The rain has begun as I type my post, but we are snug in our apartment so it matters not.  Today Mom and I took in the Louvre (as  did a significant percent of the world's population - Buddhist monks included).

I was last here in 1986, and it is very different Louvre now.  There's even air conditioning!  I do like Pei's pyramid as well.

Speaking of pyramids, the Louvre has lots of Egyptian antiquities...

...including cat mummies!
Sometimes the halls of the Louvre appear so long they disapear into the horizon.
Even the ceilings are worth a look.
There's too much to see and do in one lifetime I think.
The best way to enjoy the Louvre or any other large museum, is to come away with one or two new things that speak to you personally.
For me, it was this painting called "Portrait of a Couple" by an unknown French artist. I think they've been married a while and still like each other. And I adore the lace on her ruff and cuffs.

After the Louvre, we walked to the Pont Neuf to take one of the bateaux mouches on tour of Parisian landmarks. 
The bridges over the Seine are lovely and a bateau ride is a great way to see them.
Recently couples have taken to buying a lock, inscribing it with their name or initials, hanging it on the Pont des Arts, then tossing the key into the Seine.  The love and lock can thus never be broken.

There's a nice view of the Eiffel Tower from the river.

Here's the Musee d' Orsay.  We'll go there to see Impressionist paintings.
Sometimes serendipity just happens.
This newly marriage couple was happily posing for pictures atop the Pont Neuf as we watched below from the bateau.  They finally noticed us and sent us a big wave and grin.  It certainly looks like Happily Ever After to me!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where is Waldo?

I've stitched enough to show off a bit of progress.  I'm calling this "August" though it does not have a name on the chart.   The chart is "A Prairie Year II" by the Prairie Schooler.

Just when you think you know where I am and what I am doing...

I might surprise you.  Mom and I took the Eurostar to Paris this afternoon.  The train left at 4:22pm.  I thought the Chunnel Experience might make me claustrophobic, but...I slept through that part.

We arrived at Gare d' Nord about 8:00pm.  We bought metro tickets and made our way to our apartment.  Even at 8:30pm the streets were bustling and full of people.

This is the view from our apartment window.

Very Parisian yes?