Sunday, April 17, 2011

Les Fleurs de Paris -- aaaaa-choo!

A small alley in Montparnasse which housed historic ateliers and continues to feature artist studios, a small museum, exhibitions . . . and a delightful garden!
 We leave Paris for London on Wednesday, in the midst of splendid weather -- 19 or 20 over the last three days, it will climb to 23 today and stay there for the rest of our visit. In fact, except for the first few days in London, the temperatures have scarcely dipped below 14 degrees our entire visit.

In the same small artist corridor. . . .

Meanwhile, though, I have my Google Homepage set up to show me weather in Paris, London, Coimbra (Portugal) and back home -- and we have been struck by the rainy cold we've escaped. If there have been days that the temperatures back home climbed above 15, we've missed them. The highs are consistently between 9 and 12, and the night-time lows this week are dipping back below zero! Fleeting snow hit last week!
Another scene; same alley
We do have passing bouts of sympathy for those back home, even guilt for our own good fortune . . . but then we just get back out in that sunshine and enjoy!

Wisteria on the wall by the Assemblée Nationale
As you know, I had to buy a new dress (or two) to cope with the unexpected heat -- and then I ended up getting a sunburn!
Strolling through Parc de Belleville last Saturday morning

Somewhere in Belleville or Menilmontant

Parc de Belleville, again -- well worth the Metro fare!

Parisians are readers! again, Parc de Belleville

A tiny vineyard in Parc de Belleville

No flowers in this photo, but here I am getting my sunburn -- I doubt you can notice here, but I'm wearing a heart-shaped pendant, and the sunburn clearly depicts this by a protected white heart right in the middle of my upper chest!
Glorious, glorious Paris, flowering in the April sunshine -- I'm making you all terribly envious, right? Well, to mitigate the envy, I'll tell you the big problem with all this beauty. As with a number of Parisians I've spoken to lately, I'm suffering considerably with hayfever as I never have in my life. Oh, I may get some sinus stuff going on with the spring blooms at home, but there's usually enough rain to keep the pollen levels down.
In the 12th, I think, somewhere near the wonderful Promenade Plantée (which preceded and inspired New York's High Line, by the way)
Here, we've not taken our umbrellas out for the last three weeks or more and the extraordinary temperatures mean blossoms have been exploding as if in time-lapse photography.
Montmartre blooms

and blooms
If we spend the entire day out, I have a tough time sleeping at night, but I'm not too bad if we're out for a few hours, then come back inside for my sinuses to calm down, then out again.

Yesterday we hit the Orsay in the morning for the Manet exhibit (the crowds were only just bearable at 9:30 -- by the time we left they were already close to horrid) -- sinuses not bad. Lunch outside at Le Nimrod, some pressure and some sneezing, which got worse as we biked around Luxembourg Gardens for an hour or so. Back home for some down time and a Kleenex re-stocking and the stuffed ears cleared somewhat. Then they filled up again as we walked to the movie but were not too bad while we watched the show.
Walking up the hill to Christophe (which Duchesse knows well) for dinner -- same thing.  As we ate, my body was so distracted by the good food that the hayfever ceased to be a problem and by the time we walked home along St. Germain through the warm Paris evening, I knew I had little to complain about.

Still, I thought I should let you know that I'm suffering here. Really . . .


  1. Oh, Cristophe! One of our very favorites!! The serene atmosphere there is often so welcome toward the end of a trip, when we're starting to feel that sensory overload and travel burnout.

    So sorry to hear about your hay fever. I've only begun experiencing a bit of that in recent years, but thankfully it's been minor.

    Your photos look amazing! I should be getting ready for work right now, but will come back and click on each one to see the amazing details. We're hoping to get to that Manet exhibit, if it's still there by late May.

    BTW, is that a Roots bag (blue one)? You look splendid in your skirt and brogues.

  2. I feel sun just reading this. I recommend taking a shower every night before you sleep - if you don't already. We get a lot of pollen here in California right about now, and that's always been the best solution. That and air cleaner if it gets really bad.

    Oh, all those flowers in the heat. Meanwhile we're planting roses in beds here. It's cloudy.

  3. My sympathies. Really. It must be dreadful being in Paris (in Paris!) in spring with all the trees blooming, a midday rest for the sinuses' sake, dining at Cristophe, the Manet exhibit - beauty at every turn (or at least, your photographs indicate this), and on top of that, too much sun! And yet you soldier on. As I snivel in my own hometown, under gray skies that somehow let the pollen through, my eyes itch as I write this, and my heart swells with longing and pleasure at your account. (Really, I do hope you feel better, and I'm glad you aren't letting the hay fever overshadow your joy.)

  4. I can commiserate, as our old growth wisteria came into full bloom last week, setting off an allergy meltdown that developed into a full blown cold. It seems I get as drunk on the pollen as do the black bees lazily buzzing around the blooms.

    I'm still enjoying your photos and commentary but may not be commenting this week!

  5. So sorry that Paris in Springtime is wrecking havoc
    with your sinuses. Your photos are lovely and you look chic and serene in the wisteria photo!

  6. Love that I can "see" you @ Christophe! The blooms are transporting, wisteria is my favourite. I even moved and enlarged the shots. Feel better!

  7. Pseu: Yes, Christophe's is just enough off the beaten track and the interior is really quite soothing, isn't it?! And a nice mix of diners every time we've been.
    It is, indeed, a Roots bag -- I'm wishing I'd bought it in brown or caramel instead -- the whole "pop of colour" thing is not as useful in a limited wardrobe!
    And thanks for the kind comments about my outfit -- I'll admit to feeling quite out of sorts about it that day, but in retrospect, in the photos, it's not too bad.
    LPC: Thanks for the helpful advice -- seemed to do the trick for sleeping anyway.
    Planting new roses -- such a promise!
    Marsha: Your comment made me laugh loudly enough that Pater enquired -- so I read it to him and he got a good chuckle as well. Thanks for your heartfelt sympathy!
    Susan: It might be wisteria that's doing the damage here as well -- it's so very gorgeous and the fragrance is wonderful, but oh dear, the sneezing!
    Pavlova -- thank you!
    and Duchesse, sad to note that they still haven't returned that wonderful lemon millefeuille to Christophe's menu -- had to make do with the chocolat mi-cuit, so sad . . .


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