23 February 2017

Triumphant at the Arc de Triomphe

Our two-hour journey on the Eurostar  from London St. Pancras to Paris brought us to Gare du Nord in the tenth arrondissement. A.C. and I walked through litter-strewn streets and past graffiti-covered storefronts to the elevated platform of Barbès - Rochechouart station. We were two of many travelers anticipating the trip west on the metro line 2. I wanted to escape the less than satisfactory picture of Paris that had initially been presented and meld into a scene of grand boulevards. I felt fortunate, like a survivor of the Titanic on the last lifeboat, to board the train. The stops climbed in number, and we exited at the tenth, emerging from the underground Étoile metro station in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe. My arms stretched to the sky, and my legs propelled my body upward. The arch stands at the center of a roundabout, the Place de l'Étoile. Twelve streets branch from the stone structure like cosmic rays of light. The traffic swirls rapidly in a continuous orbit. The symbol of French patriotism is inscribed with the names of generals from the Napoleonic Wars. While I did not see my name up there, I claimed it as a token of our successful journey to the 8th arrondissement, the neighborhood we would call home.  
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L’arc de triomphe de l’Étoile
M.J.C.

17 February 2017

Paris from the top Floor

I thought I was dreaming the first time I woke up in Paris. The simplicity of the rustic, untreated wooden floors and the white walls of our apartment inspired my artistic nature. Paris and our studio appeared as a blank canvas in need of painting. The city called for our presence, and the walls begged for photographs of our adventures. I dressed in slim trousers many shades deeper than the gray of the sky. My purple cashmere sweater brightened up the studio in the absence of the sun's rays. I opened the double doors to the balcony and stepped outside. Many of the shutters on the windows within view were still closed. I felt accomplished in my triumph of rising at a decent hour. We had visited the Eiffel Tower, now faintly visible beyond the rooftops, the night before. It had glowed and so had we. A glimpse of the still tower in the daylight confirmed that Paris was not a dream, but rather real life.
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M.J.C.

11 February 2017

The Case for the Macaron in Three Points

1. I think of Paris when I hold a macaron in my hand. Shopping at Ladurée is a Parisian pastime for my husband and me. Thus, I have come to associate the delicacy with this French city. Although I buy macarons from purveyors in other cities, I envision the shop on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with every bite. 
2. Preparing macarons is an artform. The time-consuming process reminds me that the best things in life require an investment of time. Like art, my life should not be rushed. 
3. The brilliant colors of macarons lift my spirits under an overcast sky. Salted caramel is my favorite flavor.
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Ladurée on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées
M.J.C.

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