What is it about Paris that makes one want to run out and buy red lipstick? .... and a hat with a big silk rose pinned to the side? Once you are there you forget about the cliches and become immersed in the stylish soup of Parisian street life. The city lights glowing in the low-hanging clouds, and the neon signs reflecting off the dark wet cobblestone streets just put you in a francophile daze and... zap! You find yourself wearing a beret!
Well anyway that's what happened to me last week.
On my last night there it was sprinkling just enough to wet the streets, so that all the illuminated buildings and holiday lights made a watercolor wash of color shining on the damp stones. Ah, Paris! I walked the steep winding alleys of the old city, and ended up on Montmartre... listening to the chest-thumping pipe organ of Sacré-Cœur, craning my neck to look at her glimmering gold Byzantine-style mosaics inside the dome, then bursting out in to the cold damp evening to take in the view of the misty city and rooftops below.
In the Place du Tertre (the central plaza at the top of the mountain), the artists still set up their easels to create portraits of the visiting tourists. The tinkling of piano keys and the smooth voice of a chanson singer come floating out of a restaurant on the plaza. An accordion player occupies one entrance, and a scruffy band of singing young men have set up with their guitars across the plaza. Shops full of art and souvenirs crowd the alleys that quickly twist and fall away on steep cobbled walkways. It is no longer the rough artist's district described in the song La Bohème - but it still has plenty of atmosphere.
In the last year I have traveled to Japan, Thailand, Australia, Ireland, England, Italy, Russia, and Guatemala. Each country seduces with its colors, its food and textiles, its fragrances and music, and the warm smiles of its people. It was good to finish the year in France. I was the hot bread, and Paris was the melting butter. If you watched the movie about Julia Child - "Julie & Julia" - you know what I mean.
I had a scare on this trip. I dropped my Nikon! However my camera was checked out at the camera hospital, tweaked a bit, and pronounced fit for the next trip. (Tokyo Quilt Festival in 3 weeks) Whew!
QUILT RELIEF UPDATE:
YES! We are still distributing quilts to victims of Hurricane Sandy! Tens of thousands of people lost homes and possessions, and your donated quilts mean SO much to these folks. We had about 300 quilts distributed last week, and another 300 are being distributed later this week. As fast as you can send them to the Timeless Treasures warehouse in New Jersey, we are getting them out to the communities who have lost so much.
As you may know, the mayor of Newtown Connecticut asked that no more gifts be sent to their town. They were inundated with tons of toys, pillowcases, books, etc. but as I've said before, this is not what this community needs. We have a longterm project for *group* memorial quilts for the community. I am working with my contacts there on this *longterm* project. I am putting out a call to groups - for individuals to make blocks that will then go into group memorial quilts for the Sandy Hook Elementary School families.
If you are itching to sew for someone in need, please stay focused on the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, while we organize the longterm Sandy Hook memorial quilt project. It gets a little confusing because both of these have "Sandy" in the name.
Watch for my latest France photos on my Flickr photo page and my Instagram account.