Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Paris blur



Yesterday morning the fog covered the hills above the village like a cupped hand. Everything was a bit muted, even the birds seemed to be humming under their wings. It took me back to my few hours roaming through Paris not so long ago.


For then too it was a gray day but my heart began pumping it with color so that I was painting outside the lines. 


You see, I had a friend to meet. Isn't it something...an anticipation that builds until it whirls like a carrousel?


I could hardly focus on my surroundings but focus I did or at least I tried. To see Paris for Paris' sake...



...and that meant taking in not one but two art exhibitions in the space of nearly as many hours.


It was exceptional to see the City of Light as loved by the photographers of the Magnum collective. So many of the city's most classic moments were captured and defined by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson that I felt floating free in a past where I felt I belonged despite having never been.


It was a bit of time out of time until I stepped outside the Hotel de Ville and was reminded of recent events that had shocked the world, putting me smack back into 2015.


And yet La Conciergerie was mere steps away and I could nearly hear Marie Antoinette crying to be freed from her prison cell there...


...or Audrey Hepburn joyously shouting "Take the picture! Take the picture!" while floating past The Winged Victory of Samothrace at the Louvre.


Is this why we love Paris? 

It is the host to so many of our stories - the imaginary, the real or those dancing in-between.

All we have to do is somehow place ourselves in that unique landscape, put a finger to the wind and pull on the blur.


As the night shrouded Paris in the fogs opposite, I boarded the train for Provence. 

The doors to the TGV slid together, shutting sound and the wheels rolled out until I couldn't hear them anymore. I took my camera out of my bag and set it in my lap. It held my story - or at least what it had been for those few hours. My cheek felt cool against the window as the bright lights dissolved. Paris was letting me go.

"Au revoir," I whispered. Until we meet again.



37 comments:

  1. Lived there for five years; left nine, can it really be nine, years ago. Your photo essay reminded me of so much that I hadn't really forgotten.

    Merci.

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    1. It stays with us no matter where we go and how far we have travelled...

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  2. Perfect timing for me, Heather, as I prepare to depart Kauai and return to "Her" indescribable allure .. Siren of all Sirens .. Vive la Paris ...

    Mahalo et Merci for yet another beautiful post ... no doubt so meaningful for so many ...

    Bill

    www.kauai-to-paris.com

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    1. Oh I am so excited for you Bill! I know how long you have been looking forward to this moment...enjoy!!

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    2. Every May & every September .. and the time between gets longer and longer and longer .......

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  3. Beautiful photos and words and everything :) You have captured the essence of your trip [erfectly. Ah, the Winged Victory of Samothrace - I do not think there is another sculpture quite as perfect and beautiful even if it is headless now.

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    1. The new director of the Louvre has changed the way she is presented a bit...I would love to see her in person again!

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  4. Thank you for these beautiful pictures of Paris – I needed that. I am French and was brought up in Paris but now live too far away. When I get depressed I try to find pictures of my home town and am pleased to have found your post. Merci beaucoup, cela m’a remonté le moral – un peu.

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    1. Donc, c'était un grand success pour moi. I know what it means to be far from "Home." How that missing can tug on our heart-strings. I am sending my Best Wishes to you...Paris...what an amazing city to have grown up in...

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  5. THAT WAS PERFECT!
    JUST BEAUTIFUL.
    Perhaps I too felt a part of the trip even if I was not present!!!!
    WE BOTH SHALL RETURN...............TOGETHER perhaps!

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    1. Can you imagine?!? And with Ellie that would make a perfect trio!

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  6. You have made me "feel" this visit, Heather. Vicki did this the other day with her NYC post. Maybe the wanderer in me needs more of a free hand to roam freely. Let's see, just came back from Hawaii & Montana, but they are not Europe, not even New York. Yep, I'm thinking of taking off in June, maybe a cruise of the Med as I've never done one. However, your train has made me think how much closer we are riding the rails.

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    1. Isn't it funny? Because both Hawaii and Montana sound so very exotic to me!! And wonderful too. I hope that you have a wonderful time wherever you decide to roam, dear Marsha. I know one thing: that you will make friends along the way wherever you are...

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  7. Lovely! What a word picture!
    Cheers,
    Deb C

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  8. Ah - Heather - you tease us all!!! Such a fantastic city to be even as close as you are to enjoy and visit occasionally would be fantastic - watch out you don't trigger a major migration!!

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    1. Wyn, a lot of people in Provence do go up a few times a year just to do shopping and see the art shows but it is a case of "so close and yet so far" for me as it is a pricey venture. As I mentioned in my first post of this series, I have the amazing Elizabeth Kirkpatrick to thank for sponsoring my trip to meet Ellie, otherwise I would not have been able to go!

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  9. Your photo essay reveals the fine facets of Paris, “host to so many of our stories - the imaginary, the real or those dancing in-between.” Little by little I’m seeing Paris.

    The Paris Magnum photography exhibits, black and white photos, and that colorful Eiffel Towers miniatures, Simone de Beauvoir & younger Picasso, show the versatility of the different photographers.

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    1. The Paris Magnum show was absolutely phenomenal, Edgar. It certainly merited its own post but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any photographs inside - I think for security reasons since it was in the Town Hall.

      And trust me, this isn't even the tip of the tip of the iceberg...there is SO much more to see!

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  10. You captured the things I love about Paris, and the voices I hear in my own head when I walk through the city, Heather. It's uncanny. Gave me chills. You have such an eye for the beautiful, my dear. On my bucket list is a stroll through the city with you - I can see the two of us, stopping every two seconds to take a picture, alternating between silent awe of our surroundings and chattering up a storm on a multitude of kindred-spririt subjects. Someday. I know we will just have to make it happen. Until then, this virtual walk with you was oh-so-lovely! XOXO

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    1. Oh my Goodness, wouldn't that be something?? Especially as we love all of the same places and all of the same things! What a beautiful idea, friend. That made me smile to imagine, thank you. :)

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  11. A beautiful tale I could relate to all of the feelings you described. Lovely shots.

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  12. That's what Paris is in my memory - a blur! But I'm so glad you were able to pay a quick visit and take in your favorite sights, plus 2 exhibits!! Is this your first time back as a photographer??? I loved the mix of black/white and color; loved the carousel, the people dancing. Now your fans are craving for you to go back - "more! more!", the people cry! Thanks for the lovely, quick visit! Le sigh.

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    1. I would so love for us to have a few days there together like we did oh so many years ago!! Love you Sister.

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  13. Lovely Heather! You always make me feel at home with your descriptions. I love Paris and I miss it everywhere I go ... I was strolling on those places with you while reading and watching the photos and I felt the same pain when you left by train.... your thoughts were mine...(empathy) . Have a nice week end my dear!

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    1. Emilia, I think that you are an empath. I am too but it is a phrase that I only learned of recently. I think it is a wonderful trait in you!

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  14. Dear Heather, what a delightful account and though Paris is at the top of my list, I have yet to spend time there in spite of all my travels! Soon, very soon!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Bunnies by Hunt Slonem!

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    1. Karena, you would love it...I can just imagine...

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  15. I can see you striding through Paris, revisiting favourite places, and trying to catch a glimpse of perhaps something new. Hold it all in your heart Heather, until the next time.
    xxTracy

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  16. Hello Heather,
    You covered a great distance in such a short visit. All your images are beautiful. Paris is long overdue a visit from us.
    Hope your weekend is special
    Helen xx

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    1. Helen, Paris would be such an enormous source of inspiration for your work that I bet that a visit there could be a tax write-off!

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  17. Heather on Paris...a sublime combination! I have been underground with a complex case for the last 3 weeks, and pretty much ensconced in my work study 7 day/wk since mid-January. Reading this post was the perfect way to begin my re-emergencing. I spent a great deal of time in Paris from age 16 to 31...probably more than 100 visits and some pockets of time living there...but I have not come to know her in this later stage of my life. Thank you for bringing her to me, for my savoring until I return and guidance when I do. Fondly, Leslie in Oregon

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    1. Leslie, I had no idea that you had spent so much time in Paris! I would be so curious to know what your reaction would be to the city today...

      And I sincerely hope that all of your hard work paid off!

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  18. I'm loving your posts on Paris, as we are right now in our apt in St Germain des Pres, renting for a month. I have been by, in, near many of these beautiful places, and having a long time to really savor so much sweet Paris has to offer has been pure luxury. I even enjoy going grocery shopping at Carrefour - now is that a cookie or a biscuit or a cracker! Just try putting cheese and salami on a cookie - I know 'biscuit is a cookie, but it looked so much like a cracker!!! I could live here forever!! It feels 'right.!! I love your photos I admire you being able to select just a few for your post - that is always my challenge, I want to look at everyone of my pics and show them to everyone - they make me fall in love over and over, with this amazing city and just with life!

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    1. Judi, your comment made me smile. Oh, I know all too well! When I first moved here I couldn't figure out why the clothes weren't getting clean in the wash...it was because I was buying fabric softener instead of detergent! :) While you are at Carrefour - and even better is the Monoprix that is not far from the Cafe des Deux Magots - look in the tapenade/spreads section (usually by the olives) for products from Jean Martin. They are from Provence and are really good - just not on a cookie! Also, don't forget to buy plenty of Fleur de Sel du Camargue - sea salt. It really is the best!!!

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