The Never-Ending Beauty of the Sun-Starved City
I’m home again in the City of Light…even though it was actually a bit sad to leave Nice yesterday — with its beautiful sunshine and relaxed atmosphere after 10 days soaking up the rays (except for one downpour on Sunday) and smelling the salty blue Mediterranean sea.
Monday afternoon a gardner came to plant new flowers in the “jardinières” (flower boxes) on the balcony and window railings since the geraniums couldn’t take the full sun and lack of water rendering them absolutely DOA (dead upon arrival) at “Le Matisse.”
They recommended a flowering succulent that will be able to take the benign abuse of the southern exposure and occasional absence of regular waterings. Don’t ask me the name — I haven’t a clue, but perhaps you recognize them from this photo. He planted three happy colors in each box — white, yellow and red…and I glowed with delight.
Why these little details in life make one so happy is hard to explain. When the orchids sprout a new stem and the bulbs open one by one, it’s a thrill. The red geraniums outside my Paris windows that bloom from March to November are like growing children needing nurturing. And the African Violets that bloom all year round thanks to that perfect spot in the window are simply heartwarming with every tiny pink flower that opens.
Winter comes to Paris and the geraniums go dormant, but the indoor plants thrive thanks to the soft light and TLC (tender, loving care). Light is a big issue in Paris apartments because the sky stays mostly gray, spreading light in a transfused and even-toned way. There are no brights or darks, just mid-range tones creating an almost postcard-perfect image. The lower your apartment to the street, or the narrower the street, the less light might come in the windows.
This lack of sunlight can contribute to what is appropriately known as “SAD” (Seasonal Affective Disorder) — a mild form of depression. We Parisians can be victims of the disorder if we’re not careful. Perhaps the flowers add life, if not light to the equation. And it’s one reason I’ve been heading to the Riviera to increase the Vitamin D in my system.
The truth is, however, that this natural transfused-lit stage for life is one reason Paris is so extraordinarily beautiful. Very few cities in the world have such a special tone. We never need our sunglasses, nor sunscreen…and we might be lacking a bit of Apollo’s fiery chariot that makes its way across the sky, bringing life-giving light to the planet…but we have the never-ending beauty of Paris.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
P.S. Join us on October 8 at 3 p.m. for Parler Paris Après Midi when Cara Black, national bestselling author of 13 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series discusses “The little known artists quartier below Montparnasse: My research with the Art Cops in Paris and Interpol for stolen art.” Attend the discussion and meet new friends! Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris, Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers. Costs nothing except for what you drink. I look forward to seeing you there!
P.P.S. If you’re going to be in the New Orleans area, mark your calendar for October 3-5 when LuLu LoLo will present: “Dear Marc: Letters from the People to Congressman Vito Marcantonio: A Dramatic Reading” at the 46th Annual Conference of the Italian American Studies Association, “Italian American Identity Politics” – The New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 3-5, 2013.