Prét à Paris

Looking back at that ebullient January post, full of plans and some great blog-posts, I am feeling a gritty reality … I knew then we were probably going to ‘DO THE HOUSE’, a.k.a. the shack, why did I not factor such a grand plan in to 2015? rebuilding your home from the foundations up leaves room for little else, sneak peeks and stripes aside, there’s been little blogging… with  a final blogging-death-nail of international house move and suitcase lugging summer-vagrancy.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 09.10.52doh….

Now we are temporarily sheltered from it all under the heat of Provence in the lull of family holidays I am coming to, maybe Paris put a Spring in my step? I had never been with the children and their excitement rubbed off, their fresh eyed wonder at the beauty of it all: the landmarks and the street life, Paris Plage and café society.  I saw it anew.
IMG_3828We stayed in Place de Vosges, a landmark in itself, a rhythmic beauty of 18th century architecture framing a perfect park:

Pavillion de la Reine is tucked into this, inviting and hushed after the city streets.IMG_3855

IMG_3829   Yes, please DO take my suitcases off me.

I had  ADA plans for Paris, but these were re-written with les infants in tow, pulling out the ‘Big Three’, you know, the Paris landmarks of Louvre, Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame rather than off-beat curio-treats.  On super-excited arrival I steer us sharply through the tiny Marais streets to the Seine, giving my first-time visitors an immediate sense of the scale and grandeur, the ‘hold your breath’ beauty of Paris.  

IMG_3719Wide eyed we people-watched,  cartwheeled and mingled… straight into Paris Plage.  Here between the bridges where the sand is piled high with deck chairs, buckets and spades, palm trees spring up and Paris relaxes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 17.07.37 we caught the beat of the afternoon dance off.IMG_3732and could have stayed till closing time….IMG_3928Day 2, spick and span, croissant and café au laited up, we set forth to the beating heart of grand Paris, the Louvre, it doesn’t visually disappoint, we skipped in:

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We crawled out…somewhere between rooms 60 and 22, one of us flagged…the other 2 were still in Rococo and Chinoiserie fantasy mode… but we were repeatedly instructed: DON’T STOP, KEEP GOING…until the Mona Lisa doesn’t quite come into view surrounded by violent throngs of selfie seekers.  Can you  guess our personal favourites?

  1. the whippet
  2. the guns
  3. Marie Antoinette’s travelling ‘toilette’ all beautifully ciphered.

Mummy got briefly excited about her approaching Masters, the Decorative Arts feast awaiting me in September, then remembering the planned ‘required’ reading list that is also awaiting my attention, in storage… boxed up,  gave myself up to capturing the children’s imaginations with tit bits of lives and inspirations, fantasy and science.

Luckily Cafê Marly is just as you fall out the door/pyramid with a reviving sorbet or two.IMG_3804can’t take ’em anywhere… reaching surreptitiously for rosé.

IMG_3810I steer them under the arch…IMG_3811and TAXI! Tour Eiffel please.IMG_3820Pre-booked tickets having been unavailable, phew. We were free for lunch with PaPa … choices, choices, choices.

Recamier it is… the soufflé-star of Paris:IMG_3821

Gourmands from Peter Mayle to Mr Cater (aka Grandpa) flock to it…IMG_3823

Afterwards you can float to Jardin Luxembourg and join the generations of young visitors in the simple pleasures of messing about with boats.

and what could be nicer than that?

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The splashes and crashes amid intermittent bursts of calm sailing…

Left us fully revived for bistro dining…

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card games and the city by night…

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Cue ‘Day 2’ and we are there early…

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Notre Dame.

The playground we discovered round the back got their vote, and Mummy was rather taken by rustic charm of a city cottage ornée.

IMG_3866 IMG_3868

Then we were all silenced by the Memorial to the Deportations, an architectural masterpiece encapsulating this  historic island’s role as  the night time embarkation point for the Jewish ‘deportees’ in WWII.  The ensuing flood of questions are difficult to answer, this breakdown of humanity in war inconceivable.

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The grave of an unknown victim is flanked by thousands of shimmering memorial discs, the constrained entry a pointed reminder of the gun-point journey before the sharply framed embarkation point from which so few returned.

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Afterwards we returned slowly to the 21st century… strolling streets, ice creams in hand, happy to be here and now.

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Enjoying the everyday beauty that is all around.

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Before the final evenings embrace.

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It’s à bientôt, not au revoir, we are always Prét à Paris.

Image Credits:

Doh… was spotted on Slim Paley also a victim of ‘moving house’ this summer.

other photos by me.

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