Friday, August 1, 2008

Paris



Rifling through Cebah's accumlation of papers in a drawer (she kept every drawing I did as a child - and I drew every day.) - I found this "report" that I did in second grade. I thought I understood school, that every day you made illustrated reports like this one and handed them in to the teacher. Luckily in second grade my fellow students, still struggling with the actual assignments, were as impressed as the teacher (that would change for the worse) - but I can see that by the time of this particular report, she had figured out the minimum required response to my daily prodigies. She put a check on it and handed it back.

The text says:

Bridge. builder. Alexandre
Gustave. Eiffel. completed. his. (you can see that I was enamored of the period during this period.)
most famous. Struc-ture the
1,052-foot Eiffel Tower-only
three years after. he finished
the framework for the paris
international Exposition of
1889 the tower has endured
as a Symbol of paris four
masonry Piers support the 7,000
tons of inter laced iron work that
stretch upward and unite in a
Single shaft Elevators carry
sightseers to. three plat forms within the tower.
on the first Platform is a restaurant The. tird at. 906. feet. contains
a many windowed. observation

(here it runs out of space - it looks as though there were tinier words crammed in, but they are erased.)

Oh Paris. That's the only city I've ever felt totally at home in. The last time I went (my 8th visit) - I had a little talk with myself on the plane, to the effect that I was now older, wiser, more discerning, less gullible, and that I had taken off, once and for all, the rose-colored glasses that had in the past caused me to be head-over-heels in love with absolutely everything about Paris - like the most pathetic francophile imaginable - an already dead american going to heaven - and THIS TIME I would see it clearly, with a cold eye, right through the charms I had over-rated, must have over-rated, since I'd rated them over the top...
Then I stepped off the train in Gare Du Nord & started gushing all over again, even though it was freakin cold as hell. I heaved a sigh of relief - I'd been right all along - it's actually better than I can imagine. I tied my scarf in the mode (yes, of course I brought a scarf.) and stepped into the flow. I headed for Polidor to eat snails.

All the things about Paris that seem to irritate other travelers, I relish. Let them move on if they have no joie! If the Parisians weren't short with those types the place would be overrun with dullness in a month. Maybe it's my natural waif that emerges there, but no one in Paris has ever been rude to me. I belong there. Somehow the Parisians pick up on this - I know my French is below functional - still I get complimented on my accent while finer tongues get scowled at.



I like wine. I like to eat. I like to flirt, and be flirted with. There is no better city on earth for these three diversions.

Because I love that city so much, the one oil painting I've done of it is mostly cobalt violet - arguably my favorite color.



With a sigh, I realize that I will never live there.

It's a good thing that dandyland is plain paradise, because if it wasn't I know right where I'd be tonight - slurping down yet another bubbling garlic-butter snail out of its shell and knocking it back with good red wine. Bon soir, mes amis!

7 comments:

Cathy said...

Mes amis, says the mistress. hee hee

I love the light and movement in your painting of the bridge. Paris at night, sigh.

You wrote that Eiffel Tower report, and drew it, with perspective, in 2nd grade? Epatant!

francophilia.com said...

Hi Dan.

The 2nd-grade report is adorable. The periods, the drawing and the incipient francophilia... You should really have that framed.

I'm trying to find all the world's francophiles and tell them about the social network I launched at www.francophilia.com. Stop by and say hello. Im LaGoulue!

Pamela Poole

Dan Dutton said...

Got it, Mistress! (Thanks!) & yes, double sigh. But we still have the sausages of France ahead of us.

Hi Pamela! Thanks so much for your comment. I'll see you at francophilia.com ~ I know I belong there!

Apifera Farm said...

I was lucky that when I lived in Oslo for the summer in '81 and studied there, my father was still a practicing architect for the international division of his corporation. I got to meet up with him, first in Zurich [oh, Zurich! The food! Alps!} a few days in Copenhagen, then a week in PAris. I hadn't eaten properly all summer of course [drank beer and ate a lot of cheese and choc. bars] but Paris, the first thing I did was RUSH to Piere Lechaise cemetary. I spent 2 full days there - did you get there. We also got to sepnd an evening in the Pigale section, where an architect friend had bought and refurbished what used to be the main brothel during the Nazi era. There were tons of secret doors into large bathrooms/ie sex rooms [but elegant]. It was magical. It was like a Toulese Letrec painting in that section...

Dan Dutton said...

Oh wow! I DID spend time in Pierre Lachaise - making tombstone rubbings - that eventually became part of a book of poems "Letters from Death" - the papercuts for that book are on my website, but the collages that incorporated the rubbings, and the 2 franc guide to where famous people are buried that the guards copy and sell, are not. I've been thinking of doing a blog that uses them - so now I know it's a must do. What an amazing place! Chopin's grave with the perpetually renewed bouquet of violets from George Sand, Balzac, Piaf, Oscar Wilde (with an incredibly moving epitaph on an amazing scupture) Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas, Jim Morrison (ha!) with acres of cult graffiti around him... & the whole scene - like the hyper-realized set of a spooky movie! It was just boggling.

I knew with this post I just had to tell the basics - because I have so many stories about Paris there's no way to even skim them here. I treasure every moment I've spent there.

Apifera Farm said...

You have rubbings...cool. And the section devoted to the Holocaust...I've always been attracted to cemetaries. I also remember really liking Rodin's house...

Dan Dutton said...

I stayed with a family who lived in the house next door to Rodin's house. I was chastised by the teenage son there for "cutting the nose off the cheese". HA! Last time I did that!

I got the sea creature's gifts today! Merci Bien!
They are what I need.