Gallic Fever

Toujours francofolle !

Reflections from a Paris kitchen window: blue and white

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Who? Moi. Toujours francofolle — forever France-crazy. For some of the reasons, read About . . .

The Parc Monceau colonnade looks much the same today as it does in the old post card I found at a street market stand on a rainy spring day.

The Parc Monceau colonnade looks much the same today as it does in the old post card I found at a street market stand on a rainy spring day.

Where? My apartment exchanger’s comfy digs in the chic and calm 17th arrondissement. My adopted neighborhood, not far from the Arc de Triomphe, and anchored by lush Parc Monceau.

What? Views from the kitchen window, fifth-floor, looking out across the courtyard. And perhaps looking slightly inward. And maybe a few dispatches from the living room window. . . .

When? June 2014 . . . finally! Not a moment too soon, either — considering I’ve been living here since early April. And, before long, my kitchen will be a different one. I’ll move at the end of June to a new exchanger’s apartment, from which the views, naturally, must be different. (My Paris apartment exchanges will continue till the end of August, and then I’ll travel outside France for ten days or so. Then back to my NYC kitchen where the “window” offers me less clarity.)

The kitchen window in my spring 2014 exchange apartment (rue Jouffroy D'abbans, 17e) showed me a quiet courtyard, and more. . ..

The kitchen window in my spring 2014 exchange apartment (rue Jouffroy D’abbans, 17e) showed me a quiet courtyard, and more. . ..

Why? The slothful blogger suddenly is moved to type! Not that I haven’t been pressing my laptop keys this spring. I most certainly have been — but to more specific purposes. (Read about those in Arts & Commerce, for instance, and in How’s Your French?) From my kitchen window, you can get my observations on the pleasures of quotidian Paris, more or less in the same time frame as I live them. When the Paris sun chooses to shine full strength (we’re not exactly spoiled that way, this spring), the effect can be incredibly

Mediterranean. Yes, the sky is so intensely, deeply, uniformly blue, the sun can’t help but radiate as if on the Riviera. Or in the Greek Islands.

The courtyard walls of the seven-storey house (I think it’s seven storeys, ground floor not visible from my vantage point) that’s opposite my kitchen window are painted a beige-y shade of cream. But on a rare ‘Mediterranean’ day, the sun bleaches those same walls absolutely bone white. The potent blue and white contrast recalls a series of 1960s photos of Mykonos. In those days, that Aegean island was an architect’s paradise of pure form and color. (Today, probably, too many tourists for a truly pure prospect.) So, yes, those dazzling photos — slides, at the time — shared on a huge screen by a Harvard Graduate School of Design professor in an academic venue, came to my mind’s eye as, so many decades later, I looked out my kitchen window in, of all places, Paris.

I never made it to Mykonos in that unspoiled time; not even since. I’d love to visit a divine Greek isle (why not several?) But for the moment, the view on a brilliant day, from my kitchen window, is all I need. Merci, ville de lumiere (city of light).

And let’s not forget How . . . is it possible to stay indoors and write when Paris weather turns beautiful? Sit next to the floor-to-ceiling, living room window, open on hinges like a door, so the sun can caress your shoulder, and just report reflections as they occur. (Looking out over my street, rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, I see exactly the same intersection view as conveniently provided by google Maps.) After dark, there’ll be time enough for revisions — thanks to WordPress, I even can keep track of how many revisions. The summer light favors Parisians and their guests till about 22h00. After that, I’ll turn on the eco-bulbs (amazingly expensive here, to replace) or be left to peer helplessly at my gray page. I remind myself to get all I can from every moment of Paris clarity.

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