My summer in Paris

Old Jul 28th, 2015, 02:14 AM
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In my heavily Muslim neighbourhood, most of the people sit in cafés drinking coffee or beer before going to the mosque. The vast majority of the Muslims in France have an extremely lenient concept of how closely any 'rules' should be followed.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 03:04 AM
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If you haven't read "Lust for Life" or seen the movie, I would highly recommend it - especially if interested in VanGogh.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 04:43 AM
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Coffee has been present in the Middle East for centuries; some say it is where coffee originated. We have Arabic Coffee and Turkish coffee, heavily consumed by people in these countries, an integral part of their hospitality.

I find the traditional Arabic coffee pot quite beautiful:
https://www.google.ae/webhp?sourceid...20coffee%20pot

Thanks monouche, for the reference to Lust for Life. I tried to remember the book about van Gogh's life that I had read years and years ago, and this is IT! Walking around in Montmartre reminded me of these amazingly talented artists again.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 05:41 AM
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Your honest and personal commentary is a pleasure to read Kovsie and I truly look forward to more.

We all experience life in different ways, and it is interesting and refreshing to read about the way others experience people, places and things that are familiar to us in a particular way, especially when their experiences could not be more similar - or equally, more opposite - than our own. It provides us with alternative perspectives that we might otherwise never have known or considered.

Keep up the great reporting.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 05:53 AM
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Oh, and I meant to add... that if you are still looking for reading suggestions, that good old standby, Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" will not disappoint.

I know it's long, but you can get some great recently translated versions (inexpensive too) that leave the spirit and language of the original text intact, which to me was very important as Hugo truly has a way with words.
I know at least 8 people who have read it before they went to Paris, to raved how much fun and intrigue they had visiting some of the sites mentioned in that classic book if you can still find them.
I recently performed in a version of the musical which was directed by an historian who went to great lengths to explain to us the origin of some of the places and events mentioned in the book, as they were then and as they are now. So much so that I read the novel while we were in rehearsal, and now I cannot wait to go back to Paris an look up some of those sites.

It's just a suggestion if you have the time to explore. The story itself outside of the historical framework is darn good too.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 07:39 AM
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Hi again Mathieu! Thanks for both comments. I have read Jean Val Jean (seemingly a 'sanitised' retelling of Victor Hugo's book) as a teenager during a long summer on my grandparents' farm, but I have never tackled Lee Mis. My DD has read it several times, and went to see the show in London twice! We are planning a 'Victor Hugo walk' this coming weekend - details still to be figured out. On my kindle I have Hapgood's translation into English ... I must just start reading it.

It must have been so great to perform in the musical. Perhaps you know this clip that shows how it has travelled from France to Japan to Iceland to Canada and onwards:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpDbvlAI_A0
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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Kovsie, count me among those enjoying your report and looking forward to more. I think you made a great choice, and will get to experience a side of Paris and environs that not many visitors do - wonderful, especially for a month-long stay. And I bet you're going to pick up more than a few words of French during this time!
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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By the same author as Lust for Life, I'd recommend Depths of Glory. It's focused on Camille Pissarro, but chronicles the history of the Impressionists. It's a little overlong, perhaps, but very thorough about the artistic and private lives of the artists.

http://www.amazon.com/Depths-Glory-I...3MH36FV532YG9E

A good (and much shorter) non-fiction account of the artists and their movement is The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe. It's available for download.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Private-Li.../dp/0060545593

I look forward to hearing about your Victor Hugo walk.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 12:39 PM
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Susan Vreeland's "Luncheon of the Boating Party" was a great read, may be especially enjoyable if you will be traipsing around the areas frequented by Renoir and his compatriots.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 06:08 PM
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Kovsie, I am greatly enjoying your writing! I will be in Paris this Sat with my 18 yr old step-granddaughter. We have skip the line tickets at the Eiffel Tower. I've been up before and would prefer to stay on the ground, but the youngster wants to go up.....
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 08:00 PM
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I love your reports, kovsie.

I think a combo of PG Wodehouse and Napoleon bio sounds just right. So glad to find a fellow Eiffel-Tower-underwhelmer. I've resisted the urge to scale it, glad to have that validated.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 09:40 PM
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THE STREET IN WHICH WE LIVE
I find our street quite fascinating. It is literally and figuratively so far away from the sights and sites of central Paris.

Opposite our home is a family with lots of dogs and kids – perhaps five of each. They all live in a double story house that is linked to an auto-workshop where the dad seems to be the owner and head mechanic. Every morning at 8am he leaves his front door, walks 20m to his workshop, opens the big rolling door and business starts. Today I counted 11 cars of all makes parked in front of our home, waiting to be serviced. Various mechanics arrive early – I recognize the first one coming by bicycle when we meet in the supermarket. They work until perhaps 7pm … even later. When I close my shutters at +-9.30, the members of the family are carrying plates and dishes for their evening meal to an outside table. They wave when they see me. They defy my initial expectations - in spite of dogs, kids and workshop, there is very little noise. At any time of the day, men are leaning against cars, frowning, lips pouting, earnestly peering into engines.

Down the street is an undertaker and seller of gravestones (remember that behind our home is a big cemetery). I have checked today – a simple stone goes for just over a 1000Euro, a more complicated affair with a silver rose inserted in the marble is almost 7000Euro. Next to the gravestones is a florist. (All services provided!) Then it is just a 100m to reach the entrance to the parking area for the supermarket.

It is nice that the traffic to the supermarket does not go past our house; our street is so quiet that people walk, chatting, in the middle of the road.

OK – in the other direction you have ordinary homes. It takes you perhaps 5 minutes to reach the underpass under the train tracks. (Yes, it is there Stokebailey!) Then down the street, past the bus stop, you find a butcher, a patisserie, a nice greengrocer. Then our station. I am impressed with how clean the streets are, how safe we feel.

I have often looked at European homes with the geraniums in the windows. Now I am the woman who opens the shutters to water the geraniums. It gives me joy!

At our front gate is a lavender bed. Whenever we come home, the aroma of lavender and the sound of bumblebees greet us.
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Old Jul 28th, 2015, 10:05 PM
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Thanks for the reading suggestions everyone! I will follow up all of them.

Maine, the Luncheon of the Boating Party is such a happy picture. For years, I had a poster of it above the fridge in my kitchen. When I was in Washington DC, I specially went to Georgetown to see the real thing. It was so much bigger than I expected, the colours so vivid. So ... thanks for telling me about the book!
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 03:11 AM
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Suburban life is so much more exotic when you are in Paris .
Love your descriptions.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 06:38 AM
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Thank you for that vid clip Kovsie. Yes I have seen it before several times.. it is a great clip, reminding us of the universality and popularity of the novel and now the musical. And some great singers there too. Michael Burgess who played the Canadian JV is a friend of some friends of mine and I've met him several times. Tommy Korberg who plays the Swedish JV is a singer I listen to a lot. His original rendition of 'Anthem' from "Chess" is a standout.

In the show, I played the role of the Bishop. It's the only part I was interested in and really wanted. I made it down to the final four before getting the call at midnight after final callbacks saying the part was mine. I love that role and character, especially his philosophy, and the way he calmly and positively affects the life of a distressed and disillusioned person.

Jean Valjean: 'You receive me into your house. You light your candles for me. Yet I have not concealed from you whence I come and that I am an unfortunate man.’
The Bishop, who was sitting close to him, gently touched his hand. ‘You could not help telling me who you were. This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. And do not thank me; do not say that I receive you in my house. No one is at home here, except the man who needs a refuge. I say to you, who are passing by, that you are much more at home here than I am myself. Everything here is yours. What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me you had one which I knew.’
The man opened his eyes in astonishment.
‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother.’

-Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, translated by Isabel F. Hapgood
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 06:39 AM
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Kovsie,
Enjoying your trip report. We are spending a month in Paris in October. Looking forward to taking advantage of the new rules for the Navigo and taking the RER to outlying areas we haven't visited.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 07:06 AM
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I am really enjoying your report. I look forward to more installments.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 07:11 AM
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Ah, yes. The lavender. How fine to have your own bed.

Samois was also full of hollyhocks last month.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Thanks for the Les Miz video clip. I saw that concert (on TV) and was also struck by the universality of the appeal across so many borders.

I love your description of your neighborhood. It's great to walk around with you.

The Luncheon of the Boating Party is one of my favorites too, but it was actually Seamus who recommended that book. It does sound very interesting.
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Old Jul 29th, 2015, 07:58 AM
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Two easy day trips down RER that I can recommend:

Fontainebleau and the Chateau. #1 bus marked "Chateau" from the Avon Gare. Bonaparte exhibit there not to be missed, including a portrait gallery of his family, his folding war bed, and the baby King of Rome's teething coral.

Moret-sur-Loing. The walk from Moret/Veneux station is maybe 15 min or so to medieval center of town, though probably taxi available. We were on bicycles. If the creperie next to the old gate and bridge has finished repair work it would be an especially nice place for lunch. Still was good even with a plastic window instead of open porch.
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