Last week at this time I was rambling through a hillside park next to Sacré Coeur in Montmartre. Throngs of people cluttered the steps admiring the views of Paris. I did the same then tramped off looking for quiet. I walked around the to the right and found the loveliest park I hadn't seen before on my last visits up here. Twisting paths and sets of stairs led down the hill. I expected to run into people.
Instead I found faux bois logs poured into faux bois steps leading to…
Surprise, faux bois railings! A veritable fake wood paradise! A Parisian cat posse were having a meeting on the stairs.
I stood under a canopy of green with tall groves of apartment buildings clustered along the edges.
Windows opened and closed. Balconies waited for their owners to arrive home from errands, or work, or walks.
I know it seems like it's all I did in Paris – wander through parks and stare at pretty things. Listen to birds. Think about how plants grow. It's true. That's what I did. I would like to go back right this second and do it for another month. I wouldn't get bored. I love cities. Getting small glimpses into other lives. Listening to busses roar past. Metro doors spring open and snap back closed. Small wooded spaces to rest and drink in the sun. Each person tilting back on their own axis, making their own rotations, taking trips.
Next time I go to Paris I will endeavor to write down the names of the parks I visit.
Or at least take photos of the signs. I went to so many. Suzanne and I thought we should make each other felt girl scout badges for each place we visited. Museums for her and parks for me. Plus I'd like another one for Metro & Bus lines. Imagine little handstitched applique badges with big numbers on them. Um. wow. that'd be cool!
I've been sort of stunned all week. Like a bird that flies into a window. Working life is a real shocker. I haven't had the luxury of staring into space while I gather my wits about me which is my usual adjustment strategy upon returning from a holiday.
My school is changing to a traditional calendar next year. We'll have summers off like most schools in other parts of the country. Instead of 2 – 6 week breaks I'll have 1 long break in summer. The good news is I'll be going on vacation again at the end of June. But for right now I'm still in Paris. Getting ready to fall asleep on a park bench.
Junior Pease says
Say, you got a nice post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.
I’m also a fan of fake wood, a greatly underappreciated artform. Beautiful pictures!
I went to that same park! I also tended to veer away from the touristy places and venture down side streets and steps and off the stream lined paths. That is where all the treasures of Paris are!
Love Love PARIS!!! Next time you should stay there for the whole summer or for a year on a sabbatical!!!
Teresa Diaz Barriga says
Thanks for sharing……As always…….
Saucy Chick Sherry says
Ahh…to be in Paris again. Taking a picture of each sign for remembering adventures while traveling is a great idea. I adore the fact that you did exactly what makes you happiest in your travels. Why do anything you don’t enjoy! Happy memories…
Wow, Mary Ann—I rarely comment, but I keep my eye on you :-). This Paris trip has been so wonderful–for me, it had a bittersweet quality unlike your other trips I have followed. Maybe because you were there exploring things and places as if you WERE living there. I have never been, but someday…would love to go. Thank you so much for taking us along!
Violet Cadburry says
Thanks for the virtual vacation, your posts were lovely, especially the videos! Wish we Americans were a bit more creative with public spaces, love the faux bois stairs and the black chain link fence, so much more inviting than the usual bland stuff seen around our cities. So, pray tell, what was your favorite moment in Paris?
what an INCREDIBLE feast for the eyes – these photos are “tres magnifique” (reaching into my long ago highschool french, ha ha)I can just imagine the joy you will have placing them into your wonderful travel journal! Thanks so much for sharing!
Marilyn Weyman Kegg says
Draw the badges and glue small versions of your photos of the badge-place along with it in your sketchbook/journal. Ha! *I* should do that instead of the journals I never stop and take the time to do on our travels. Of course, I’ve never been to Paris but I bet I wouldn’t stop there either. Great pics!
Judy H. says
Dang. Now I covet faux bois steps and railings. Will have to hone my concrete-working skills. 😉
Handstitched felt badges for parks visited? Yes! Yes!
Shelley Noble says
Another beautiful post! I love your metaphor for all people being like little planets. So true. And that you are a tourist of Life and Living. So true and beautiful.
Debbie G says
Your photos bring back such fond memories; we were there almost a year ago. I could have wandered around and rested all day, but my traveling companions wanted to move on. So much to explore there . . . I even bought a little orange sun hat around the corner from the steps. Be good to you as you continue to transport your mind back to Paris and acclimating your body to the LA routine. BTW, where to this summer?
Gwen Delmore says
I love the idea of badges! I still have my Girl Scout sash with all of my merit badges on it. Cooking, sewing, babysitting, what an exciting girlhood I had! But there are also ones for camp skills, that was fun. I would love to add bus routes and favorite parks!
Your Paris trip was amazing and I look forward to the journal, too!
Sorry you had to go back to work right away. That stinks. Hope the children treat you gently. 🙂
I am glad that you wandered all around Paris…it is definitely that kind of city.
AND badges…oh I think that is an awesome idea. I have been thinking of badges for mundane things like cleaning the kitchen, BUT as awards for visiting places in Paris..let’s just say, “I wish I would have thought of that”.
Oh, and one more thing…I am still waiting on the edge of my seat every day to see if this in indeed the day we get to see inside your Paris journal. *hint hint*
Take care…the weekend is almost here. 🙂
the felt ‘wayfaring wanderer’ badges is the best idea!!!!!
missy from the bayou
Oh how I can relate! When our school went to traditional from year round I felt I had lost my own secret March and November holiday times… but you will adjust! Just means you get to spend MORE time wandering in parks and riding metros!! You travel like I like to — taking pictures of the minutia of daily life, the culture in a living sense. I mean museums are wonderful and have their place, but the the “who” of the place is really the people and the things that happen on a daily basis. Can’t wait to hear where you will go this summer! Meanwhile enjoy the Spring!
What an amazing way you have visited Paris. The faux bois staircase amongst that crowds who never saw them—I want to find. Thank you for sharing you eyes in a beautiful city.
You take the most amazing pictures! So appreciate your sharing your experiences with us 🙂
susan w says
What a gift you have for bringing others into this experience. Consciously or un, choosing a limited palette of activity ended up providing a deeper enjoyment of the city. Not a travelogue but an invitation.
Why the schedule change? Whose idea was that?
Janet Ghio says
I love the stairs and the railing! Fabulous and I definitely think you should consider making some badges!!!
Stunning pictures, Mary Ann! And I can only imagine the serious shift from park hopping in Paris to kid corraling in school … yikes!
Leslie J. Moran says
Oops! Felt-BADGE not bade 🙂 I can think of all sorts of badges that could be useful..
Leslie J. Moran says
Excellent, Excellent finds. I think I see a felt-bade class coming on! 🙂 Once again, your perspective of Paris is as charming as your storytelling ability. You should take a rest on that bench today. Jet-lag is a killer!
I think the wandering is the best part of a vacation. In London, he goes to the British library and I get on a bus …and get off when the stop seems to call to me. Totally open ended days are so unlike the rest of my -even retired – life that it really nourishes my soul.
Elizabeth Woodford says
Wonderful pictures and prose!! I find that one does not get to know a place till you wnader a bit and get to know the paths less followed and discover the soul of a place in the nooks and crannies!! i also love the back side of the hill on which Sacre Couer sits!!!
I’m a Merry-go-Round kind of girl. Would have needed to find me a wild wooden pinto, pronto. And would love a badge for every Paris Merry-go-round trip. The persimmon wall with the green branches – well, I’m back in Paris, too! Beautiful.
Gary Lowe... says
Oh and your scrap books are impressive pieces of art…Gary from London…
Gary Lowe... says
I have stumbled across your blog by chance…how nice life is…always something new to love…
Michele Unger says
I could just eat up your photos. They thrill me! The faux bois stairs and railings are really surprising, but fun and wonderful and odd, all rolled into one creative way to change levels. Where will you go on holiday in June? I’m off to China next month—-and I am so excited I’m practically vibrating! (And yes, my journal is ready.)
I love the golden leaves screening Sacre’ Coeur and her white facade and dome.
A lovely and fitting tribute.