The Grand Dame
Notre Dame, Paris, France
She stormed into the room, clearly cranky, imperious and really, just not happy at all. Indeed, she glowered.
Her minions mimicked her expression and her every move. The result was comical, though one dared not laugh. The nobleman looked up, terrified, and quivered.
The old man quietly stepped out of the room by a side door, closing it silently behind him. Best not to be in the crosshairs this day
The Indian Cafe
Whilst in Paris, we walked by this restaurant a couple of times. I'll admit it... I giggled each time. I mean really... I wanted to experience FRENCH food. Many croissants. Chocolate by the barrel. I don't like Texmex much at home... why would I travel halfway around the world for it?? The first part of our Parisienne adventure was swoonworthy, and did not include Parisienne TexMex.
Until chance, flight cancellations and a few more unexpected days in Paris brought us to its doorstep. Hungry. End of our rope. Ready to go Pariesienne tex-mex.
And it was... amazing. Simple food, beautifully prepared. Completely altered all preconceived opinions. We ended up LOVING the Indiana Cafe, oh yes we did!
Let that be a lesson to me!
Cafe De L'Industrie
I love Paris...
Why oh why do I love Paris?
Because cafes live there.
And romance, beauty and wicked cool history.
To name but a few of les raisons que j'aime Paris
The Notre Dame.
Snow. I swore I saw Quasimodo. Right there... look! Between those parapets. Dang, he's quick. Cue the scary music.
This night, I set up and took aim at the side of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The ghosts of writers, emperors, members of the clergy and Victor Hugo all looking on, or so it felt. I apologized to them for swearing so prolifically as huge gobs of snow landed on my lens, blurring up my perfect shot du arte. It always landed on the best shot. Grrrr. I shoulda planned better. Clearly, I didn't. It doesn't look like it was snowing that much - you can only sorta see it in the light on the upper left - but trust me, it was and I was soaked. My surly, potty-mouthed self was determined to walk away victorious and I would have stood there all damn night if I had to. Much to my HUGE relief, I didn't have to.
I left the lens distortion, a couple of blurrrrrs. The skew fit the mood, told the the story, covered the sense "surreality" I felt standing there that night.
I hope Victor Hugo would approve. But I think he was cranky. So I'll just have to approve of myself. ;-))
The Bridge Over Seine-ity
There are times, she mused, that the spoken version of one word perfectly describes the experience of another word, spelled differently.
She pondered how to say that to someone.
Then decided to just enjoy the sunset.
The Sacre CoerGoyles
Folks ooo'd and aahhh'd over the beauty of the place.
Its grandeur. Its splendor.
Their jaw-dropping photographs offered radiant testimony.
It was her first visit.
She had her Ooo's and Aaahh's all cued up, eager and enthusiastic.
But on that particular grey day,
she couldn't stop staring at the gargoyles.
From THE MONOCHROMES
This Montmartre Moment Brought To You By
Me 'n Paris. ;-))
Today's offering is...a glance. You know that thing - where something catches your attention out of the the corner of your eye... you turn to look... and bam! That seemingly simple frame is now imprinted in your brain as the flash card for a time and place your heart intends to remember forever.
It is... and it does.
Church of Saint Ambroise
On my way back from a day in the recording studio, I happened by Saint Ambroise. I hadn't seen it the day before - but was delighted to make its acquaintance this day.
Situated smack in the middle of a regular old neighborhood (if any in Paris really qualify as "regular")... the church sits upon the former site of the convent of Annonciades; a female order founded in 1500 by St. Jeanne de France, daughter of King Louis XI.
The pigeon was a stunt bonus.
The Louvre Courtyard, Midnight
Paris. The Louvre. Midnight.
We had the best adventure EVER that day - that will forever define our first visit to paris.
It included walking 8 miles through the streets of Paris at night, experiencing the wonder of the Louvre at midnight - with the place to ourselves and magic all around, missing the last subway at 1am, consoling ourselves with wine, cheese and the most delicious chocolate ever made at 2am on the Champs Elysees.
The stuff dreams are made of, baby.
t Was Time
It was time. How long had she waited A month? A year? An eternity? She wasn't sure. All she knew was... she was about to be free. At last. The air around her began to shimmer... and shift.
Her heart quickened... vision sharpened. Senses returning. Tingling. Warmth. Oh yes, it was time.
She would make it... this time.
One last glance behind her. She saw the photographer. And smiled.
Good. Someone will know.
It is possible.
Then she was gone.
From THE MONOCHROMES
The Clock Shop in Montmartre
OK, so here's the bare bones of what I'm thinkin' for this:
Converging folds in time.
The final hours of separation between dual universes (who, naturally, have been in mortal denial of each other since the beginning of time).
The reality-altering decision that must be made by the ultimate Keeper of Time - to potentially end time and boot himself out of a job.
All centering around a seemingly simple clock repair shop in Montmartre, Paris, France.
Ya know, the basics.
There were worse places to be undercover than in Paris - and worse places to stay than Les Jardins du Marais.
A photographer with a camera and tripod made her want to start taking the side entrance to her room. She became suspicious when she overheard acronyms like "HDR", "gee plus", "f-stop" and such... followed by terms like "voice over", "motionX gps drive" and "cougar".
She thought these might be code. Deep, dangerous code. She put her research team to work on finding out who this woman with the tripod and messenger bag really was.
A few days later, she let it go... the focus of her scrutiny none the wiser.
Seems this photographer-voice over-tourist person was just that.
A photographer-voice over-tourist person.
The Moment After She Left
On the platform she waited for the train that was coming.
Her demeanor was calm. Inside was a whirlwind.
Would it work, this plan she dreamed of last night?
Would they come? Could they hear? Would it fly?
The unknown was always a gamble.
She took a deep breath as the air pressure changed. It was time and her train was approaching.
It would be her last ride on this route she had known.
Her last wait at this particular station.
She'd miss it in ways, with it all so familiar...
But her heart wouldn't let her sit still.
The train glides up to the platform. She smiles.
Steps onto the ride of her life.
As the train disappears, the station grows quiet.
Less oxygen now. Her light has moved on.
If By Night, Follow Three Lights
She flew down the steps as fast as her feet would move. Go-go-go.
Leapt over the last four. Go.
Landed, heart pounding. Breathing in ragged gasps. Sweat pouring down her back.
She'd been running half the night.
She stopped to think. C'mon, dammit, think!
Focused the wizard's final words, attached so lightly to his last breath.
"If by night, follow three lights."
Looked left... the tunnel was dark.
Spun her head right... counted three lamps... and flung herself back into motion toward them.
She disappeared around the bend, the echoes of her footsteps fading.
The lights quelled - one by one - behind her,
leaving the darkness and silence to cloak her passing.
The red eyes appeared. Still tracking. Still pursuing.
Looking left... then right.
©Karen Hutton - Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 3.0)
Behind the Green Door
I love crazy old doors. What's behind them? Who passes through them? How long have they been there? Now clearly, there's alot going on with this one right here. It's a storybook door. And judging by the individual frames on this door, the age old push me, pull me, hit me, hang me, shake me, beg me, dress me, undress me, implore me, bestow up on me, gimmegimmegimme lifestyle has been going on for quite some time now. But what is the whole story here? Who was the original artist? Who commissioned him? And why? I have no answer. This kinda bugs me. Do you know?
Paris. The restaurant was closed, but the grammophone held the promise of a wonderful meal tomorrow. Shot from the outside, there were reflections and schmears galore on the window glass. But I think that's cool. 'Cause I love how it's grungy on the outside, soft and warm and musical on the inside. Like a really good friend.
Bikes For Rent
It's called Velib... and it's Paris' genius rent-a-bike program, brainchild of the mayor. For a few coins, you hop on a bike, ride it to wherever you need to be - and park that puppy in the undoubtedly nearby docking station. Miss the last subway train at 1am? Rent a bike! Late night of clubbing, no taxis handy? Use the Velib! Don't want to have your own bike ripped off or worry about where to park it? Voila! A lovely rental bike is just waiting to roll to your destination.
How much does revenue does it pull in? I just read an article from 2007 that claimed $28 million for that year.
I love smart ideas.
Ladies Who Stroll
I use the word 'stroll' lightly. Because these particular ladies in the Marais neighborhood of Paris were covering some major groundage. I wondered what they were talking about, so immersed were they. Work? Clothes? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Working out? Problems of the world? I wondered if they were native Pariesiennes, or if they moved here from another land. And if they were happy there.
I admired their fashion sense, as I did most of the women I saw in Paris.
Then they swooped by and were gone.
The Corner of Brasserie & Chatelet
It's coming up on a year since I visited Paris for the fist time. I went there to record voiceover for MotionX-GPS Drive (iPhone/iPad)... and it was a whirlwind trip. I've never actually missed a city before... but my goodness I miss Paris!
[she sighs. take a moment.]
So for the month of December, I'm just going to have to sprinkle my posts with some Paris goodness. You won't know where, you won't know when... and they won't all be masterpieces, they'll just be... moments that perhaps we'll enjoy together. I do loves me a moment ;-)).
PS... I know there isn't actually a corner of Brasserie and Chatelet. In fact, there's even a street sign that conveniently says Quai de la Mégisserie. I mention this just in case you felt the urge to make a correction. You can relax. Roll with it. We'll all have alot of fun, probably as we make up a bunch of stuff along the way!
Red Door #72
It waited. And watched. People streamed by on the Paris street it called home. Some lost in thought, some late for work. One munching a croissant, another walking a mini dog on her morning constitution. Still it waited. And watched. One of these people would not be a passerby. One would have The Key. Which would fit perfectly. Slipped into the keyhole, it would slide the latch and unlock #72. Only then would the door swing open, just enough to let this one pass. Into a different light, a different sound, a different world.
The door creaked in anticipation.
It waited. And watched.
Rue de Lappe, Paris
You could almost hear the music from the 1930's dance halls pouring out onto the street. Almost. This street was famous for them back in the day. Here in the Bastille neighborhood of Paris, Rue de Lappe is still quite the lively nightspot. With any number of bars, cafes, creperies, restaurants and clubs to choose from... you can keep going into the wee hours, whether you're eating, drinking... or shooting crazy HDR photographs!
Cour Napoleon, Louvre Museum
Paris in December. I was sent there for voiceover work. They even sent my husband along so I wouldn't have to go alone. Lovely! Def a quick turnaround, not much sightseeing time. And I had a bee in my bonnet about shooting at night. Nevermind that it snowed every day (and night) that we were there... heck, you'll stay warm if you just keep moving! Which we did. Covered 8 miles this night.
At the Louvre, it seems that if it's near freezing and close to midnight, you have the place to yourselves. I was focusing on a close up something or other, when my husband tapped me on the should and said "Look". I turned around and gasped. And shot.
And later... well, I highly recommend Le Deauville on the Champs Elysees for chocolate and cognac at 2 a.m.
The Louvre; Pavillion Sully
The Louvre is the greatest remodel ever. It started with a moated fortress in the 12th century, on a spot known as the "Louvre" and grew and grew from there. The original hovel was torn down to build a proper monarch's residence in the 1600's... which is now known as Pavillion Sully. You can still see the original foundations in the "Medieval Louvre" department of the building you see here. I say that without proper authority - since it's something we didn't actually get to see. I was in Paris for a recording job, with very little sightseeing time. We had to choose between seeing alot of outsides of things or one or two insides of things. We opted for the former - and plan to return for the latter.
Pavilion Sully, The Louvre
It's known as the "Clock Pavilion", for obvious reasons. And it was like a little time portal.
This wing of the Louvre Sully was built between 1624 and 1654 under King Louis XIV. However, the original fortress foundation - circa the late 12th century lies below. History lives here. It lives and breathes here. As I stood there imagining the likes of Napoleon, Catherine de Medici, Louis XIV, Henry IV and others gadding about in this place - designing, building, adding onto this place, all the while plotting, planning, loving, warring, doing all that stuff called life in their world... it felt like time was folding. Becoming now... and then... at once.
I kept feeling like I could almost see them... right there... out of the corner of my eye.
Louis XIV at the Louvre
Louis XIV (1638-1715) ruled France for 72 years. He was the Sun King. That's the longest reign of any French or other European monarch in history, I'm told. During which time he extended the reach de France into the Americas, Africa and India. Busy guy.
About this statue. Although he commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sculpt it, when it was finally delivered five years after Bernini died, Louis hated it so much he was going to destroy the thing. Someone must have talked him out of it, because instead he had it sent to the far end of the garden... with his likeness removed. Picky, picky.
Only in modern times was it recast and brought out for the world to see again.
I didn't know Louis, but I liked his statue.
Late at night. December. Butt-cold.
More fun than I dreamed possible.
It was a night that spanned snow, ice, 8 miles on foot, cognac and chocolate on the Champs Elysees at 2 a.m. and sights that defied both gravity and belief.
It was... pure magic.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
This arch - the smallest of three commissioned by Napoleon, was built in 1806 to commemorate his Austrian victories and honor his grand army. Just a little something.
But the place itself goes way back. The arch sits on the field between the Louvre Palace and the Tuileries Garden. Back in the 1600's, knights costumed in full regalia performed feats of horsemanship here, accompanied by music and song. Hence this spot's name: The Carrousel.
Now when you visit - you'll know a little history.
My first time in France, first gaze upon the Seine river - and first full view of this gorgeous city so full of art, history and promise. It even had proper lighting, which I thought was very considerate. Just heavenly! So I made it look the way it felt.
I couldn't believe this sunset. People said it was unusual, but it was my first time in Paris, so how would I know? The thought did cross my mind; "Gee, it's just like the Glenshire Pond!". Then realized I'd probably committed some kind of mental crime de comparison.
The bridge is the Pont des Arts. It was a tit bit nippily in December when we were there. Snapping this shot in all my layers and full length down coat I could hardly imagine it - but during the summer it becomes a "studio en plein air" - a spot for painters, photographers, and other artists, and a picnic grounds for locals.
Hey - let's go there then! Wanna?