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Thursday, 29 January 2009

A Paean to Paris, Some Red Carpet Awards and a Tag-Along!

Beautiful Auntie Gwen from Auntie Gwen's Diary has been kind enough to tag me...

The rules are:
Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures
Pick the 4th picture in that folder
Explain the picture
Tag 4 people to do the same

As I'm not technically gifted enough to store my own photos, and rely upon my family to do this for me - They are on Grizzler's laptop...

Here instead is the fourth photo taken from my fourth album on Photobucket. This album is called City of Lights, and you might not be surprised that, like Auntie Gwen's, it concerns a love of Paris, the capital of France.

This picture is of Sacre Coeur in the area known as Montmartre, once filled with vineyards, once the haunt of artists and painters, musicians and writers... Now it is a higgle-piggle, hodge-podge of tinsly touristy shops, (some) seedy clubs, and many, many bars and cafes. Oh, and the splendiferous modern meringue that is Sacre Coeur itself...

The views that open up from the steps of the church are wonderful, and I cannot resist a trip up the hill on the funicular railway, jostling with tourists!

Still, the peace and tranquillity and a scintilla of what magic the area once held can still be found, by wandering the streets of Montmartre and stepping away from the crowds...


I cannot resist adding in some of the other pictures in this album. Hope you don't mind?

Paris in the palm of your hand! Photobucket

City of Lights


Ah, the atmosphere and drama of Black and White photography...Timeless!


One little vignette from our last trip to Paris a year last Christmas - the first time we have ever had Christmas away from home, and it was uplifting, invigorating and enchanting for us as a family.

(And, to be fair, we got a good deal then in terms of Sterling against the Euro - We could not afford to take that trip again this year, even if I had been in full fitness with my back... Alors, my fond commiserations to my British chums sequestered in lovely France, who are struggling quite a bit with the credit crunch...)

As a family, we always trot about Paris every day of our trip, and religiously try to avoid the many beggars and merchants lining the streets of the most familiar attractions and landmarks.

Grizzler has been brought up to do as we do, head down, a swift "Non!" and hurtling past the many African-origin hawkers and tradesmen.

When we reached the bottom of the steps at Sacre Coeur on Christmas Day evening, we had got slightly separated from one another in the crowds. I reached for GJ in the dimming light, and found him, but where was our 6' 4" Griz?

We spotted him with his blond mane above the many other heads in the crowds; He was in the process of having Rasta braids woven around his index finger by a stocky black man. Our hearts sank - Just how long would this take, just how were we about to be fleeced by these men, how could we escape, they are so experienced in inveigling change from the unwitting tourist?

We approached the chap and found a bemused Griz... The fellow was chatting away to G about the luck this weaving would bring him, and how this bracelet - in Jamaican colours - red, gold and green - would last until he saw us again.

It was a cold night, the throngs of tourists were anxious to be on their way, and by now we had a crowd of the merchants surrounding us, curiously laughing and bantering away.

The deed finished, the bracelet clamped to Grizzles's wrist, GJ began to negotiate a price. They asked us where we were from, and one of the guys spoke of living in London until quite recently. GJ mentioned working in Nigeria of late, said he was accustomed to haggling (he lied!) and named a price, half of what the chuckling merchant wanted.

We finally agreed on what was probably not a fair price, and scuttled away. We reasoned afterwards, once securely ensconced and laughing in a local eaterie, that it would have been pretty slim pickings for those men that night, and how they were obviously 'all for one and one for all' in this endeavour, making their living in a relatively haphazard way.

We opined that they would likely as not have shared what they had managed to fleece, good-naturedly, from the average tourist, and felt we had in the end paid for a half-hour's entertainment and friendly banter!

Still ringing in my ears were the merchant's final words to me, en Francais, about my husband, "You bring your man back to me again next year, and I will give him lovely braids in his hair!"

This made us hoot hysterically; GJ has longish locks for most men, together with a pronounced widow's peak, and is thinning up top it would be fair to say, and has been since I met him when he was 21...

Laugh, he nearly cried!

and to end, a Gargoyle of Notre Dame Photobucket

In the spirit of tagging, I need to pass this on to 3 or 4 more people in accordance with the rules, so, hoping you don't mind, I tag:

Moannie at The View From This End for her winsome writing;

Saz at Fat, frumpy & fifty for her colour, honesty, warmth and integrity;

Scriptor Senex at Rambles from my chair... for his intelligent ramblings and wonderful pictures, and

Michelle at Raw Cool... Black is the new Blog for her sassy soul!

As for the Premio Dardos award kindly proffered to me by Diane at Diane's Addled Ramblings the other day, I passed it to Moannie, but I also need to pass it on to 3 other people to acknowledge the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day....

From Kim & Heather Pictures, Images and Photos

Drumroll please, Maestro!

Auntie Gwen at Auntie Gwen's Blogspot for her beauty, warmth and, almost daily, witty honesty and insights;

Saz at FFF for the obvious - The woman is a follower-magnet, she writes so effortlessly;

Kate Coveny Hood at The Big Piece of Cake because we all need cake, comfort and good sense in our lives!


French Fancy said...

Scrumptious photos and I also share the love of Paris with you - it's become my favourite city now, knocking London off my top spot. We're only about three hours away and often pop there for the weekend.

The Rasta bracelet story made me laugh. I run a mile in the other direction when I see those traders; maybe I should stay and swap banter with them.

auntiegwen said...

Merci mon amie xx for the visits,for your blog and the award, it will join my others in my little cyberdrawer of nice things xx

I love Paris and I love Montmatre, I have some very similar photos. xx

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Fhina, a million thank you's!

Tu est très généreux, ma tasse déborde!

I am having a very french day, for lots of reasons..it has been a good day!! I love this post, the images and words are so evocative and stirring..

Thank you...

grosses bises!

Saz xx FFF

Diane said...

I have promised Ryan a trip to Paris sometime soon... maybe you can come along and be our tour guide? :)

When she was about 5, we went to the Bahamas near Christmas and wandered around the open-air market. The ladies selling their wares were all over my baby... "Oh, she's so beautiful! She would look lovely in this neckace/bracelet/dress/hat/etc!" Ryan was eating it up! I did wind up buying a sundress that she wore over her bathing suit for 2 or 3 years :)

Michelle said...

YES!!!! Thank you girlie for the photo tag thingie!!! I will definitely do it but i am not sure about the 4th folder stuff!!! I may just randomly pick!!! Or pick on purpose which i know defeats the whole idea!!! I was never one to follow rules!!! SORRY!!!

I absolutely love your photos!!! GORGEOUS!!! The B&W are stunning and paris in the palm of your hand is my fav!!!!

How are you doing today??? Hey how is the weather in your world???


Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

btw ... I recently was tagged for the same meme...so here is the link to the post..unless l cheat and add another image.naughty!!


Anonymous said...

Great story to match the familiar scenes of Paris (one of my favorite places in the world). Fabulous photo of the hand holding the Eiffel Tower! Loved that. Now to visit the places you have recommended.

Braja said...

love the gargoyle :)

Chairman Bill said...

Don't you think Paris is a bit overrated? One street is very much the same as another. Stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower and it's all a mass of white.

Most unlike London, which benefited from the Great Fire and the Blitz (if that can be said to be a benefit) to the extent than there's more variety in the architecture and hence more to interest the eye?

There again, I'm a man.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

CONRATS on winning POTD nomination AGAIN>>>>

and re-redaing your post I suddenly thought..I was a Pupil of the Sacre Coeur COnvent school for girls...in Kent..connections...Sacred heart!!

another post idea!!

Anonymous said...

Fhina,lovely post, Paris has so many memories for me. I am impressed that FFF found the way to add the accent doesn't work for me.
I was tagged for this by dlyn http://dlynz.blogspot.com/ some time ago and so would have to cheat as the fourth pic n the fourth file is still the same...come to think of it I cheated a bit on that one too as the fourth pic was 'orrible. Perhaps i could use the fourth pic in my fourth photo album...there are fifteen, all of which I intend to scan in when I can find time from reading commenting and posting. Help!

Protege said...

I love Paris, there is something charming and inevitably romantic about that city.
Beautiful pictures. And a lovely story as well.;)

GB said...

I, aussi, entrera dans l'esprit et le blog en français. Je vais en France pendant un mois ou ainsi la plupart des années. Cependant j'ai passé peu de jours à Paris. La dernière fois où j'étais là j'a eu la mauvaise intoxication alimentaire. Je n'ai pas été à cette ville merveilleuse depuis lors. Peut-être l'année prochaine….

[I, too, shall enter into the spirit and blog in French. I go to France for a month or so most years. However I have spent few days in Paris. The last time I was there I had bad food poisoning. I have not been to that wonderful city since then. Perhaps next year....]

GB said...

I've just noticed the spectacular error at the start of the last comment! Perhaps I should just have said 'J'entrerai' Perhaps I should not have tried to be clever and stuck to English!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

French Fancy: I agree wholeheartedly - Please see Chairman Bill below for my thoughts on London - And you are so lucky to live so close to Paris!

auntiegwen: You are most welcome, cherie!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... Saz sorry to have tagged you once again and I do recall your lovely Miss Marple bicycle shot - That's the trouble with tagging, I feel, it's hard to know what others might and might not be ready to do, and indeed what they've just done! You deserve your every plaudit, my friend! I am so glad you are having a good day; and I am far, far better, ta! x

Diane: I am ashamed to say that GJ is the map reader, without whom I would scarcely be able to navigate the Metro! I tell him where I want to go, following my trusted guidebook, and he sets a route! We charge very reasonable tour guide rates, 'though, but for you and Ry 't'would be gratuit! x

As for your Carib adventures with Ryan, I might save my summer beach-pirates' hand-kissing tales until later!

Michelle: Bless you for picking up the challenge! I am pretty cool at the mo', but the weather here in the frozen north is cold and wintry-grey, and the roads needed gritting overnight! Feel free to treat the tag challenge with randomness! So too Moannie!

Meredith Teagarden: What an enchanting monicker - Welcome into my enchanted garden!

Braja: The gargoyle, c'est moi! ;0

Chairman Bill: Dear Sir, I cannot accept that Paris is a bit overrated? Au contraire,
I strongly feel that people have a very precious, indeed insular and parochial, view of London, whereby no other city in the world can possibly meet its match! This is not the case.

And there is more to Paris than can be seen via the landmarks and the top of the Eiffel Tower, in my opinion.
I know much of the confection of Paris was created by Haussmann, but I view and enjoy Paris more through her daily life, her sounds and smells, the decency and humour of les average citoyens and sitting in cafes people-watching. I enjoy tracking down bits of Roman and ancient history, walking through galleries, and spending time in rooms once occupied by writers, and by Rodin and his mistress-muse; I also look out for the traces of Paris's old Bohemian nature, her near-scandalous past, and her long war-time occupation and all the stories of lives lost over centuries of revolutionary tendencies... and that gives me thought.

I also think the general availability of good food and drink in France is unparalleled. I cannot say the same for London, unless perhaps I could afford to eat at the best restaurants, which I cannot...

GJ and I often are in London owing to our head offices being there, and I fear most of what character the city might have had, is being overtaken by the corporate giants, which locales of Paris are predominantly protected from by local laws.

I get tired of London-centric policy making, citizens moaning about house prices, and arts spending, as we live out in the sticks and scarcely benefit... I like London, have good friends in London, and enjoy such things as the architecture of Hawksmoor, even the Gherkin, but I cannot love London as I do Paris and Nice, Nuernberg, Duesseldorf and Frankfurt...

As for the male-centric viewpoint, GJ and Griz adore Paris even more than me, and I cannot get GJ to spend a weekend in London for love nor money!

Er, sorry to rattle on, Chairman!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... - Milady, you are going to have to stop nominating me for POTD! I know it must be yourself, just trying to keep your name out of David's mentions in despatches for one more day! xxooxx

Moannie: Apols for tagging you repeatedly - Feel free to cheat; I do, did and will!!! x

Protege: Bless you, thank you! I know I have lots to learn from your wonderful writing!

GB: While I was writing my monstrously long comments to Bill, you had sneaked in with your lovely comments! My French is so rusty I just scatter bits and pieces here and there so as not to offend my obvious betters!

Food poisoning in Paris must have been a nightmare, with all those lovely restaurants, cafes and bistros pining for your company...

Derrick said...

Hello Fhina,

I like Paris too, though I have only been once, which should have been a 40th birthday treat but they were ON STRIKE! Sound familiar?!

I can also shout "snap!" with your gargoyle! The views from Notre Dame are great. I shall do a post on Paris as part of my intermittent travel spots!

Something I wrote earlier...

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