Friday, January 09, 2009

Delectable Paris...What this cold season's good for.

To return from cold Iowa to cold Paris is not ideal. Yet the city, especially at night, is so vibrant. As in Iowa, Paris saw snow this week (as pictured on the awning the Le Gulf Stream café under my building, left, taken early in the morning as I headed off to teach my first class this month). But the weather this week wasn't so cold as to keep Parisians away from the Tuileries gardens, or sweet treats under the fantastic site of La Grande Roue (my pic at right) last Sunday. La Roue was quite a sight, bright white with the golden lights of the Crillon tumbling over its balconies as if the gilded waves of light might spill into the Place de la Concorde's sleepy winter Sunday night traffic. Behind the wheel stand the long lane of trees still lit for Christmas along the Champs Elysée, and farther to the left a golden Tour Eiffel sparkles once an hour since 2000. All in all, the city of lights earns its title.

This is also the best season for visiting expos and museums as they are empty (after all, what tourist wants to freeze their toes off in paris at this time!). Museums and cinemas are warm and full of inspiration for the chilled writer. But I also find right now my focus on the world is more visual than language oriented. Therefore I have been carrying my camera everywhere, in part inspired by photographer friend Jennifer Huxta and her constant documenting of the world she lives in, the Vardas film and seeing lots of photos in expos this month. Here are a few pics reflected in the window looking out at the Grande Roue from the Jeu de Paume with Marielle and I reflected in the windows. We caught the final day of the Lee Miller expo, a treat--especially with the documentary film on her life.

January is also the season for dinners at friends, if lucky by a fireplace (as I did the other night after work with Agnès, who invited me over to help finish the leftover foie gras from New Years and to curl up on her couch, watch a movie, read, look out at frozen Belleville in -11°C temps).

But this season is also full of sweetness, hot chocolates, chai, or the lovely frangipan treat that goes with this week's holiday: la galette des rois. It hits the boulangerie stands once a year, to celebrate the three kings bearing gifts to Christ, but really is an excuse to gather again with friends or family for dinner and dessert. Here is a homemade galette baked by Antoine, alongside my picture of some in the Le Notre window at the Bastille shop, and then a pic of our fabulous post-holiday dinner at Virginie Poitrasson's place with Michelle Noteboom, Jennifer Huxta, Virginie Poitrasson, Fred Forte, and Antoine. We drank champagne again for the dinner, but Virginie broke out a fabulous cider for the galette!

And now, perhaps back out into Paris, or under the covers of the bed with a good book (reading Lyn Hejinian's Saga/Circus (Omnidawn Press, 2008)--another great book from her, reviewed by John Herbert Cunningham !!!

No comments: