Pink Skies And White Trees
PARLER PARIS: PINK SKIES AND WHITE TREES
April 8, 2002
*** BURSTING MY VOLUMINOUS BUBBLE
What a glorious week to have seen Montmartre from Amelie’s eyes.the Latin
Quarter from Gertrude Stein’s.and the Place des Vosges from my own. It’s
been the prettiest week in Paris I can remember, sparkling-ly bright, cool
and fresh, breezy at times. As I write this, I gaze upon the happy red
geraniums in my windows and the sun is beaming across the desk.
Paul Druckman (email: mailto:[email protected]), editor of the new
BestTravelTips–Paris! newsletter, and his wife, Jean, joined me and close
friends to take Rose Marie Burke’s tour of "Montmartre of Amelie Poulain."
Trekking up and down the hills and stairs of Montmartre at dusk, exploring
the spots director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (himself a resident of Montmartre)
chose for the film was like revisiting Montmartre from a whole new
perspective. We visited the corner grocer where she shopped (still a
favorite of the neighborhood), the cafe where she worked (bustling with
locals), the streets where she escorted the blind man (rue Lepic was lively
with shoppers) and the video/sex shop where her new-found boyfriend worked
(across from the Moulin Rouge).
At the place J.B. Clement, we stopped for pastries from one of Montmartre’s
favored boulangeries while awestruck by the pink sky backdrop to the
white-flowered trees and freshly painted white apartment buildings with the
view of Paris down below, the dome of Hotel des Invalides glistening from
afar. These are the times I am reminded that Paris is really home, and I
pinch myself to make sure it’s real.
You still have time to take Rose’s tour–Wednesday, May 1st, 7 p.m. to 9
p.m. and Saturday, May 4th, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. are still available. I hope
she’ll offer it after this, too. For more information, visit
/parlerparis/guidedtours/index.html and to sign-up, email
Then over the weekend, several of us had the pleasure of taking Elizabeth
Reichert’s tour of "The Literary Left Bank", again with close friends and
author Kathy Borrus (The Fearless Shopper–How to Get the Best Deals on the
Planet), who is attending our Travel Writers Workshop later this month.
While walking over to the meeting point from my apartment, I stopped on the
Pont Saint-Louis to admire the back of Notre Dame, the trees and shrubs and
flowers in full bloom and color. I couldn’t help but take a picture, just
like a tourist, and was thankful to have brought along the camera.
We started at Place Contrescarpe at the top of rue Mouffetard and headed
through the Latin Quarter to stop along the way at the residences of Ernest
Hemingway, Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, to see the spot where the
original Shakespeare and Company once stood that now bears a plaque about
having published "Ulysses" by James Joyce and on to Gertrude Stein’s
residence on rue de Fleurus.
Elizabeth, tall and graceful as the ballerina that she is, loves to relate
the gossipy anecdotes she’s come to know about the literary community of
that time as well as today’s community here in Paris and they both relate.
Her depth of knowledge is amazing (she is also the author of the Writers
Insider Guide to Paris at http://www.insiderparisguides.com/writers). At the
end we squeezed around one small table at the Cafe de la Mairie facing
Saint-Sulpice and it’s beautiful fountained "place" for coffee (and one
pastis) to reflect on the day and all we had learned.
If you want more information about both this tour and the one Elizabeth says
is even more fascinating (Paris is a Woman) go to the site at
/parlerparis/travelwriters/literarytours.html and to sign-up,
email mailto:[email protected]
On Sunday the Plane trees at the Place des Vosges were in full regalia. Last
year a little earlier than this point in the season, when the leaves were
just popping out, I swear I could hear them! I detoured through the square
to the Hotel Sully to see the current photo exhibit, "La photographie et le
rêve américain, 1840-1940" (the Photograph and the American Dream).
Coincidentally, there is a photo portrait of Ernest Hemingway from the age
of 16, looking awfully debonair and handsome. It seemed so apropos to the
tour we had just taken the day before.
The show is on till June 16th and definitely worth a trip: Patrimoine
Photographique; Hôtel de Sully, 62, rue Saint-Antoine, Paris 75004; tel. 01
42 74 47 75; Métro Bastille, Saint-Paul. It’s open everyday except Mondays.
For more information, visit the site at:
When I arrived home in the afternoon I could hear the din from the political
demonstrations taking place at Place de la Republique and was reminded of
the struggles taking place in the Middle East, bursting, by then, my quite
A la prochaine fois . . .
Email: mailto:[email protected]
P.S. You can check the schedule for any of the tours I mention above at
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds
Published by International Living
Issue Number 33, April 8, 2002