In and Out of Paris in Two Parts
Monday, January 15, 2007
Join poet Cecilia Woloch in the beautiful, ancient town of Vitorchiano, Italy, for the second annual creative writing workshop to be held at Centro Pokkoli, March 4 – March 10, 2007.
Just an hour’s drive from Rome, situated in the stunning Tuscia region, your week-long immersion in the creative process is enhanced by this extraordinary locale, its medieval architecture, breathtaking views, and of course, participation in an international community of writers.
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Thursday evening the Mairie (city hall) of the 3rd arrondissement opened the doors of the Musée des Arts et Métiers to its residents to toast the new year with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and petits fours. As our neighbors gathered around the original version of the Foucault pendulum by Umberto Eco that hangs in the center of the once deserted priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs, Mayor Pierre Aidenbaum gathered his “adjoints” (council members) behind him, to say a few brief words about the future of the district and to wish all a Happy New Year.
Mayor Aidenbaum is an accessible man. I bump into him frequently on the streets and in the neighborhood restaurants, always having time to stop, shake hands and say a word or two. I told him that evening, “Monsieur Le Mayor, je suis très contente avec l’arrondissement!” In my pathetically simple French, he understood my sentiments and hugged my elbows warmly.
As Pascal Fonquernie (director of Parismarais.com, colleague and friend) and I listened to his words about all the new programs set forth in the district…WiFi for all, additional public housing, new parks and more green spaces, free Thursday afternoon comedy movies at the Mairie and the myriad of public offerings we will experience the coming year…I tried to remember if I had ever experienced anything like this while living in the States, or if it were even possible.
Champagne was poured freely and passed around with no one at the doors checking our I.D.’s for appropriate age. There were guards dressed in suits with no visible weapons. The museum, the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, which was founded in 1794 as a depository for the preservation of scientific instruments and inventions, was open to visit on all levels and the art respected — no one even dared set a glass down on the barrier ring around the pendulum.
We left in the cold drizzle and when arriving at the corner where the pharmacy sign tells the date, time and temperature, I looked up at that moment to see 1-11 and 11 degrees — the signs of the 11:11 message of synchronicity (see past Parler Paris newsletter).
Pascal keeps an old car for occasional trips outside of Paris. We opted to escape the pollution by heading north to the Medieval cities of Senlis and Compiègne on the A1 Autoroute, Senlis being about 50 kilometers north of the city. The skies were blue and the roads freely moving, putting us in the center of this ancient town within one hour.
Most tourists h
ead south to Chartres to see the famous cathedral and its incomparable stained glass, but the city of Chartres was bombed during World War II and little remains of its charm. Senlis, less known and less frequented, has maintained its centuries-old cobblestoned streets and stone houses seemingly untouched.
“Senlis was first a Gallo-Roman settlement. The monarchs of the early French dynasties lived here, attracted by the proximity of the forest (Forêt de Chantilly) and its venison, and built a castle on the foundations of the Roman settlement. In 987 the archbishop of Reims, Adalberon, called together an assembly, and asked them to choose Hugh Capet as king of France. However, the monarchs of France soon abandoned the city, preferring Compiègne and Fontainebleau. New life was given to the city in the 12th century, and ramparts were built. The popularity of the city later fell, and it slipped into decline.” Wikipedia.org
Many of the buildings are half-timbered, many are stone. Signs of Medieval France are everywhere, in carvings and doorways and well-tended details. During our wanderings, we spotted one ivied wall with a carved plaque noting it had once been a Gallo-Roman rampart in the 3rd century.
The cathedral at Senlis, “Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Senlis,” dedicated to the Virgin, has one of the earliest (if not THE earliest) monumental sculptural representations of her triumph. She is enthroned in Heaven with Christ in the tympanum while her death and assumption are depicted in the lintels. This theme is also evident at Chartres at the North Portal, at Strasbourg at the South Transept and at Nôtre Dame in Paris.
To see some terrifically beautiful photos of the cathedral, click here.
We lunched extravagantly, elegantly and leisurely at the charming La Vieille Auberge Restaurant Rôtisserie (at the corner of rue du Long Filet and rue Saint-Geneviève) along with the local Sunday diners. This spot has been amazingly serving meals since 1588! Then, off we went to explore Compiègne, about 40 kilometers north, taking the departmental roads, grazing the tiny towns and tree-lined two-laners.
Located on the Oise river, Compiègne dates back to 665 when Saint Wilfrid was consecrated Bishop of York and has an illustrious history. During the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians while attempting to free Compiègne. Marie de’ Medici’s attempts to displace Richelieu ultimately led to her exile to Compiègne, from where she escaped to Brussels in 1631. The Armistice with Germany, agreed at Rethondes near Compiègne, ended fighting of World War I and another Armistice with France was signed between Nazi Germany and the defeated France also in Rethondes, near Compiègne, in exactly the same place. The starting location of the Paris-Roubaix bicycle race was changed from Paris to Compiègne and most recently, the Communauté de Communes de la Région de Compiègne became a partner in a European Union INTERREG IIIb project called SAND.
The Town Hall is an impressive structure, facing La Place de l’Hôtel de Ville de Compiègne. It was here, with many of the shops on the place open particularly on Sunday thanks to the semi-annual sales, that I found my new winter coat, a bargain at 40% off.
A la prochaine…
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Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris
If you are a successful literary translator and/or fiction writer of any kind you may be eligible for the “carte de séjour profession artistique et culturelle.” In order to obtain artistic legal status you must have a contract with a publisher or literary association/company in which your publication or project completion date is scheduled for more than three months after the date of your “carte de séjour” application. Like other non-EU “carte de séjour” holders, you will need to apply for a long-stay visa at your nearest Embassy and upon arrival contact the prefecture to begin the application process for the resident permit specific to artists…. for the complete answer, see the guide….
Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how…
Cooking Up a Storm on Rue Tatin is a unique opportunity for you to explore the fascinating relationship between cooking, writing, and creativity. When you leave On Rue Tatin you’ll take with you a passion to cook for yourself, a newly energized confidence in your writing, and a stronger creative identity.
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***”Le Provençal” Studio
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.
Still available April 6th – 15th (departure April 16th) and April 26th – May 6th (departure May 7th)!
Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html
Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:
The next gathering is February 13, 2007
So mark your calendars to be sure not to miss it! See /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more details.
MARAIS LOCATION /> Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais
/> Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais
In and Out of Paris in Two Parts
This entry was posted in 2007, Parler Paris and tagged Adrian Leeds, ancient town, annual creative writing, arrondissement métro odéon, artistic legal status, artistique et culturelle, arts et métier, Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Cecilia Woloch Centro, Centro Pokkoli, centuries-old cobblestoned streets, charming la vieille, conservatoire national des arts et métiers, creative writing workshop, des arts, dream paris pied-a-terre, early french dynasties, free compiègne, French Property Insider, French property mortgage, incomparable stained glass, je suis très, join poet cecilia, Le Marais, Mayor Pierre Aidenbaum, monsieur le mayor, monumental sculptural representations, musée des arts et métiers, new year, Paris Après, Paris Métro Temple, parler paris, parler paris apartments, Parler Paris classifieds, Parler Paris Express, Parler Paris newsletter, parler paris reader, Parts Parler Paris, Pascal Fonquernie, Property Insider Consultation, Property Insider readers, real estate, rue des archives, Rue Tatin, Rue Tatin Cooking, stunning tuscia region, World War, writing workshop. Bookmark the permalink.