A Travellerspoint blog

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 28: Amelie, the Film

Amelie is a beloved French film made in 2001 about a sheltered, young woman who lives her life vicariously by manipulating the lives of people she is surrounded by in order to help them find happiness. If you know the film you know its close association with Montmartre. Many of the scenes in the film were shot in the neighborhood. There are scenes of the carousel at the Abbesses, the vegetable market Au Marche de la Butte ,and in the Cafe des 2 Moulins on Rue Lepic where Amelie worked and her co-worker famously had sex in the bathroom. The actor who plays the character she had sex with, Dominiqu e Pinon lives in Montmartre and we saw him on the streets.
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It's a sweet, unique film, if you've never seen it. Even if you hate subtitles, even if you never come to Paris or Montmartre ( Heaven forbid!), it's a great movie for a winter evening. I promise it will make you warm inside.
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Posted by teethetrav 07:23 Archived in France Tagged paris montmartre amélie dominiqu_e_pinon abbesses cafe_des_2_moulins french_films Comments (1)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 27: Saint Genevieve/My Jenevieve

I named my daughter Jenevieve long before I knew that Saint Genevieve was the patron saint of Paris. I changed the G to J to keep the initials of my three children the same. I agonized over what to name her, but the fact was that I had two boys already. There had not been a girl on my then-husband's side of the family for fifty years. My chances for a daughter were slim. I heard the name on the radio one day in my car and I loved it. I knew if I was fortunate enough to have a girl she would be my only daughter, so her name had to be perfect. Jenevieve hated her name when she was young. I think she was eight before she could spell it. The name was so long, it didn't fit on computer forms with those tiny squares that you had fill in all through school. She grew into it and now uses her full name professionally.
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Saint Genevieve is credited with protecting Paris from barbarians in the 500s AD. The national Pantheon in the Latin Quarter in Paris was built as a dedication by Louis XV after he prayed to Saint Genevieve for recovery from a serious illness. For a while, the Pantheon was a religious monument, but then it became a civic building. I didn't realize until I visited, the Pantheon houses Foucault's pendulum which demonstrates the rotation of the earth. The inside is adorned with murals depicting the life of Genevieve, from her childhood through her miracles.
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Standing on the steps, the view across the city is a straight shot to the Eiffel Tower.
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The Pantheon is surrounded by a beautiful square with the Saint Genevieve library to your right, the intricate St. Etienne du Mont church to the rear, where there is a shrine to Saint Genevieve. You are also directly across from the Mayor's and other municipal offices, and opposite the University of Paris.

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The Pantheon, Saint Genevieve Place, and the surrounding buildings are an enjoyable part of the Latin Quarter to visit, even if you don't have a personal connection to Genevieve as I do. Little did I know when I chose my daughter's name, I was naming her after this impressive woman; a woman who would be sainted after performing miracles. I adore all my children. But my Jenevieve, my only girl, is my personal miracle.
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Posted by teethetrav 02:23 Archived in France Tagged paris france pantheon latin_quarter saint_genevieve louis_xv patron_saint_of_paris foucault's_pendulum Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 26: Opera, Style, and the End of My Bucket List

I can see the sun setting in front of me, through my large windows which open onto my terrace. As I reflect on my day, I'm eating French olives, bread and brie, and drinking Cotes du Rhone. Don't hate me. It was really icky outside earlier. Wet snow and rain, but I persevered and stuck to my plan. Remember: there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. 5767EFE2BC1631F795716C9893B8DFF7.jpg5766D48DF8A1C4222ECCF90FB7CCE45D.jpg57658B7AF697DF79E936DC831BBC39D7.jpg57642156CBDEB85AB011D257A4F4D209.jpg5762CEEBF0540418D827227D8165C996.jpg

My final "must see" on this trip's bucket list was the Garnier Opera House. I am a bit of an opera house junkie. I like the houses better than I like opera. I've been to the Metropolitan in NYC, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Teatro alla Fenice in Venice (read John Berendt's book before you go: "Beware of Falling Angels.")

I am not a huge fan of opera. Just opera houses. Architecture, if you will. And the history of these spectacular places.

The Opera de Paris at the Palais Garnier is the opera house that "The Phantom of the Opera" was based on. There actually is a small lake that flows under the structure. The Opera house is stunning. It is a MUST SEE in Paris, even if you never go to an opera, ever. A spectacle of staircase, gold leaf, red velvet, plaster putti, costume displays, tiny sets, and echoes of magical voices who have performed here through the centuries will astonish and overwhelm even the most blase. You can stand at the bottom of the marble stairs and imagine yourself here, dressed to impress. The show was important, but so was being seen. People knew how to party and dress back in the day. 56DE6CC3E81930AC46FF119BF2DBA438.jpg56E00887BB8AD6B1CF5B3E652E31D523.jpg56DD65F5C05A78A06917D301E0AD8F13.jpg56DC4568E0A4CEF298BFB001B3A59197.jpg
Sorry the photos aren't better. Photography is not allowed. Oops.

On Monday afternoons, cheap tickets go up for grabs. I'm going to try to get one.

Posted by teethetrav 09:44 Archived in France Tagged paris france opera phantom_of_the_opera palais_garnier Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 25: Un Melange des Chosen Bizarres a Paris

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Posted by teethetrav 09:33 Archived in France Tagged paris france scenes melange bizarres Comments (0)

A Month in Paris in Winter

Day 24: Hemingway and Me

It's all Ernest Hemingway's fault that I'm in Paris. I blame him, his movable feast, Gertrude Stein, and her entire lost generation. I was an English major. I sponged up all the details of descriptions of starving artists and writers who ran away to Europe, mostly to Paris, during the 20s. Zelda and F. Scott, Hem and Hadley, and all their cronies. If you are not a reader, you can relive some of this era in the movie Midnight in Paris. Many of the scenes were filmed near where I live. The red door #4 in the opening scene of the film is just down my stone steps and to the right on Rue Paul Albert. E72B4995BFF938CABACACFE663291DE8.jpg

I fell for the seemingly romantic lifestyle that I read about all those years ago as an undergraduate. And I, like the character Gil in Midnight in Paris, believed somehow that those were better times for writers. It seems as though it was easier to starve, live cheaply, write, and, if you were good, ultimately publish. I have chased that dream for a long time. My writing has improved. I've been to writing workshops in places like New York City and Tuscany. I've met talented writers and made new friends. Now, I'm sort of freezing in my fifth floor apartment high up in Montmartre. It's not quite a garrett, but if you use a little imagination...

Tonight I'm going to a writer's workshop in a loft in Paris. I will pretend to be a writer (a real writer gets published, sells books, and gets read). I have three unpublished novels and 1 1/2 screenplays if anyone is interested. I will workshop my newest novel with other writers here in Paris. I think that is nearly as good as it gets. The only thing better would be to find an agent and to publish.

Somehow, somewhere along the line Hemingway seems to have become my muse. I have visited his haunts in Venice, Madrid, Havana, and now Paris. In fact, after a long dry spell when I had more or less given up writing, I sat in the bar where Hem drank (where didn't he drink?) at Hotel Nationale in Havana, Cuba this past September and suddenly was filling up a notebook. I visited his Cuban home there in Cuba. It's exactly as he left it when the American embargo forced him to leave. He expected to return, but shot himself a year later. The Cubans blame America for his death. He was happy in Cuba. He wrote well in Cuba. He was handed his Nobel prize at his home outside Havana. The Cubans believe if he didn't leave, he wouldn't have died. They may be right. Leaving may have been his undoing.

Anyway, I am grateful to Hemingway for helping me live my dream, for bringing me to Paris and to yet another writing experience. E726862EF641C39BBDBC04BFAA303C92.jpgE72EC532B7095B7F20F19CF51CBCDCCB.jpgE72D35E7AD2473FD27B45217DA7DB3A3.jpgE7295743E0194252542D685C479FC150.jpgE7280BE5AD9B088F8B34E9F8C216942E.jpg

Posted by teethetrav 05:26 Archived in France Tagged venice cuba madrid havana hemingway midnight_in_paris hotel_nationale f.scott_fitzgerald zelda_fitzgerald hadley_hemingway Comments (2)

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