Cakes and Cathedrals

Dear blog friends, Haven’t been able to post this week, hosting visitors, long conversations with long lost friends, sharing my favorite places. More thoughts taking shape about the soul of France, how cathedrals and cakes are holographic alphas and omegas of the traditional French experience, the first, centuries in the making, centuries standing solid, the second, sensual and ephemeral, but with the same love for graceful architecture, story-telling in images… More to come, love xxxxx Aliss

(Bakery Benoist, 29 avenue Secretan, Paris 75019, tel: 01 42 40 23 86, and rose window in Chartres Cathedral)

Sanity Savers 11: Whimsy

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Paris 19, Bassin de la Villette (Canal de l’Ourcq) Thank you to the local resident who set up this reading nook beside one of our canal bridges ūüôā Happened upon it yesterday with delight for the surreal humor, statement about the lives we lead, our neighborhood’s conviviality… A stray aluminum can caught the sunlight… To be continued xxxxx Aliss

Happy Everything!

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These rolled sponge cake and butter cream Yule Log B√Ľches are a French holiday tradition and a form of folk art, decorated with toy saws, holly leaves, chalets, deer, tiny presents, birds, evergreens, skiing Santas and more, each p√Ętisserie with its own special touches, flavors and colors…in this display alone, I see coconut, lemon, strawberry and raspberry versions, other shops offer chocolate, moka, vanilla…

Happy Christmas Eve and Hanukkah from Paris, everyone!

Let the light be reborn in all of us and the world…

xxxxx Aliss

My life inside an impressionist painting (cont.)

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…From the documentary at the Orangerie museum about Monet’s Waterlily vision: he first imagined creating an immersive environment in 1897 but was unable to work on it for years, grieving for his wife and son, losing his sight to cataracts, then undergoing eye surgery. As war raged across Europe, he was possessed by an almost supernatural energy, ¬†constructing a huge atelier in Giverny to house the panels, now twice the size he originally planned. Encouraged by his friend, the statesman Cl√©menceau, he completed the canvases ¬†at the end of World War I, as a gift to the people of France and everywhere, as a sanctuary amid the alienating aspects of our modern world.

Cl√©menceau and Monet chose the Orangerie building both for its location by the Seine, the river flowing through Giverny and Monet’s life,¬†¬†and also because it stands in ¬†a garden, the Tuileries, on an East-West axis, like Paris itself, aligned with cycles of day and night depicted in the paintings.

I want to see my world as Monet saw, alive with light… past, present, future, eternity in every moment.

xxxxx Aliss

My life inside an impressionist painting (updated Sept. 28)

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Reflections from my Parisian village….

Had a hard time reentering the Parisphere this year, so made a list of places to reconnect with the soul of France. First stop: le Mus√©e de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s Waterlilies:

http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/fr/article/visite-virtuelle-des-nympheas

Yes, of course you can take the virtual tour via the link above and you can go there on a crowded weekend, walk through the oval rooms filming with your smartphone, and check it off your list of tourist attractions to “do” in Paris. That’s about how I did it the first time. Then I accompanied US friends to Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny (about two hours northwest) and crossed that off my list, too, but something kept pulling me back. I researched the best time to go to avoid the tour buses and found myself spending hours sitting by the lily pond under the willow branches, immersed in peace and beauty. Then I returned to see the waterlilies at the Orangerie, again and again, weekdays at lunch time, when it’s almost empty, sliding around the oval benches in the soft natural light, facing the panels with soft eyes until the colors imprinted on my retina and I could almost slip between the layers of flowers, water, clouds, and sky. I wanted only the sensual elemental experience, not an intellectual art-snob number, so I deliberately ignored all documentation.

This time I went on a Thursday midday, was almost alone in the twin spaces and finally saw that the exhibit is not a rendering of Giverny’s pond, but more freely interpreted to create loops of time, light, and overlapping worlds. Later I wandered into the deserted audiovisual room downstairs and had the film about how Monet created this place all to myself. ¬†There is much more to say, in the coming days, ¬†about how my vision has been transformed by Monet’s spirit, how I’m seeing my cityscape literally in a different light.

To be continued….. xxxxx Aliss