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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

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France

Blogvember #9: Meanwhile, in Paris…

…she has given me life. Liiiiife. 

Ride your vélo in those awesome heels, my lovely Parisienne. Rock your style. 

I love this. Happy Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, in Paris: To All the Crêpes I’ve Loved Before…

…bow before your benevolent mistress.

crepeParis

It was inevitable that I, a faithful lover of crêpes since my aunt introduced me to them when I was about six years old, would enjoy one of my favorite desserts in the country of its birth. I ate it in seconds, pausing only for one of my girls to snap this photo of me. (Can we talk about her marvelous photo, by the way? Capturing that lovely Eiffel and the breathtaking moon all in one fell swoop? I still hold my breath when I look at this picture.)

A few things:

  • Inside the crêpe was warm Nutella chocolate. So basically all of my dreams coming true and life being given.
  • You’ll notice my one gloved hand. It was chilly that evening, but I certainly had to eat my beloved delicacy with a free, naked hand. Enter the quirky compromise.
  • See that joy in my eyes? This is what crêpes do.

All right, that’s my cue to stop before I start penning sonnets.

Want to tell me everything about your favorite dessert? Make it good and yummy. 

Meanwhile, in Paris…

Parisienne4
Image courtesy of Pinterest, which was courtesy of Vicki Archer, who I am now following on Pinterest..

I think this Parisienne embodies my future life in the City of Lights. In every way you can think of.

Bursting with a thousand words, and I agree with every letter.

Happy Friday, and bon weekend, mes amis.

Meanwhile, (back) in Paris…

…we did a photo shoot in the City of Lights during our trip. One of my girls is developing a travel site and wanted some shots of the three of us gallivanting around the city. Here are three of my favorite shots (honestly, all of the photos are my favorite); I’ll share more as we merrily go along here on This Square Peg.

paris20161

Groupphoto1

groupphoto2

So here’s the thing:

  1. It was freezing that morning. That statement deserves italics: it was freezing that morning. As you can see, we didn’t have jackets, scarves, or gloves on in these photos, and we also wore our fancy shoes to and from le metro and on the streets. So yeah: cold, cranky, and craving a pair of flats. At least that was me.
  2. But I eventually appreciated, in line with the above, that such is the life of ladies who want lovely photos. My girls reminded me more than once about all those episodes of America’s Next Top Model I watched back in the day: you suffer for beauty and you smize while doing it. To get that dreamy light you see in the photos and to capture our chocolate selves in this amazing city, being cold/cranky/craving flats was worth it. And it really was. When we finally got back home and rubbed Aspercreme on our poor feet and limbs, we whooped with delight about the whole experience.
  3. My friends really are amazing. They didn’t have to ask me to join the photo (and real talk: I was minutes from going right back home on le metro when that cold air hit me) but they did. And I have these amazing pictorial memories to show for it.
  4. Our photographer was everything you imagine photogs to be: creative, intent on capturing awesome shots each and every time, and very comfortable with ordering us to “smile at each other!” over and over again. He was a delight.
  5. Parisians love seeing three women walking around the city as they pose for photos. We received more than a few smiles, curious stares in our direction, and a thumbs up from a funkily dressed lady who passed us by on the sidewalk.

It really was fun. As this Friday wears on and I find myself feeling slightly blue/down/not myself, it’s nice to reminisce and find a smile on my face as I recall that morning.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

Its Course is Fixed.

“So quietly flows the Seine that one hardly notices its presence. It is always there, quiet and unobtrusive, like a great artery running through the human body. In the wonderful peace that fell over me it seemed as if I had climbed to the top of a high mountain; for a little while I would be able to look around me, to take in the meaning of the landscape. Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space – space even more than time. The sun is setting. I feel this river flowing through me its past, its ancient soil, the changing climate. The hills gently girdle it about: its course is fixed.”

–Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

Seine1Seine2Seine3Seine4

All photos courtesy of This Square Peg. Quiet wonder courtesy of La Seine.

Bon weekend, all.

Meanwhile, in Paris…

…I don’t know what it is about Parisian doors.

Maybe it’s the promise of all the macarons that await me inside?

Could it be the handsome homme who awaits me inside, armed with the yummy crepes that he made me for brunch?

Or maybe it’s the lovely architecture of the les portes themselves, so artistic and majestic and ready to be captured on film so they can be adored long after I have reluctantly departed from them?

One can only guess. During my February trip to Paris, I took a few photos of said doors. Here are some of them.

Frenchdoor1

Frenchdoor2

Frenchdoor3

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #3 (Drama at Versailles!)

What drama, you ask?

Nothing. But while touring the majestic palace one morning during our trip, I gazed at the staircase shown below…

StaircaseParis

…and imagined an opulently dressed daughter of a marquis fleeing down the stairs in order to avoid meeting the ancient, pockmarked duke her parents had betrothed her to. I saw the fear and panic on her face as she descended in haste, heard her rapid breathing, and I got lost in my little imagined play as a swell of fellow tourists passed me by.

Again, I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

Can you see it, too? The better question: what do you see when you look at this staircase? Tell, tell…

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #2 (L’Homme at Pont Neuf)

So we know the Parisians exude a disaffected level of coolness that drips all over the cobble-stoned streets as they nonchalantly move past your wide, touristy eyes. Throw in their natural ability to look like images right out of the latest copy of a French fashion magazine. That said, during our trip, the disaffected, fashionable cool was all around us. Case in point: as my friends and I made our way across Pont Neuf, the famed bridge (per Wikipedia, it’s the “oldest standing bridge across the river Seine”), one of my girls caught sight of a guy adjacent to us. He was ostensibly headed to work. He was wearing a suit. He was glancing down at his phone. All the things we see on a daily basis, whatever city we inhabit.

But there was just something about this homme.

Owing to the fact that I have ninja photography skills (it comes from commuting to work and seeing a variety of things that, if not captured on a camera, would hardly be believed), I snapped a quick photo of him. Please feast your eyes below, won’t you?

ParisCool

Look at that ensemble. Look at it.  Look at his scarf. His tie. His briefcase. Look at all the blue. Oh, the effortlessness of it all. Perhaps beauty–and/or French cool–is in the eye of the beholder, but all three of us beheld him and thought the same, exact thing: there’s just something about Guillaume. (I gave him a name. I’m a writer. It’s what I do.) After snapping my ninja photo, we continued on our way, discussing just what it was about him that captured our attention so. In the end, it was basically that drip drip of French je ne sais quoi. No complaints here.

Meanwhile, in Paris…Round-Up #1

Because there was just so much to capture, so much to do, so much to see, and so many joints to rub with Aspercreme after traipsing around the city to keep up with regular blog updating during the trip. (On the latter statement, I used my trust Fitness app and my calculator: we walked a complete total of 56,065 steps, from when we arrived in Paris to when we departed.) By no means an obnoxious complaint, of course, and pardon the obnoxity (not a word). We just packed in so much in those eight days in the City of Lights that by the end of the day, when WiFi did its job, I sat on the sofa like a zombie and eyed my sleep mask more than my WordPress app.

Anyway, I’m baaaaccck.

We arrived back in the US of A last Thursday, which was Friday, France time, which meant that the jet lag I suffered after my Germany/England trip was going to visit me, Parisian style. But other than waking up on Friday with aches on body parts I didn’t even know I had, I was able to eventually come back to normal. Back to work, back to supervisors that confuse administrative staff for babysitters, back to life. But, again, no complaints. As one of my travel buddies and good friends astutely put it during our trip, “we work so we can travel.” Many more photos will come as the week and the month wears on. I took many for me, which means there were many for you, dear reader. Below, however, are a few things I learned, some travel tips, etc.

Pinterest Travel really is a thing. If you don’t already, I welcome all future travelers to start pinning away when they decide where they’re going. Yes, we pin things that will never happen in reality (or maybe just me? See my recipes and home decor boards), but it’s worth making actual travel plans by pin. The three of us happened to do this on our own and were able to have a list of places we wanted to visit, restaurants we wanted to stuff our faces in, etc. Images of Paris that I’ve gazed at for months and months came roaring back to me, reminding of all the places I wanted to go that I didn’t have a chance to visit the first time I visited the city twelve years ago. So, yeah, create them boards, y’all. They will come in handy.

English may not be the evil that shall not be named after all. The last time I visited France, I was with French speakers. They did all the communicating for me (see past posts on the ineffectual nature of my brain and the French language), for one thing, which made things cushy and great. But I certainly wasn’t blind to the French side eye the natives cast in my direction when my friends would mention that I was American. Anyway, it’s 2016, people. This time, you had three ladies who spoke very little French (I know my vocab, but conversation? Le crickets). I wondered how we would do, how we would communicate, all the side eye that would come in our direction if we butchered the language, whether people would even give us the time of day (they’re known to not give you the time of day, by the way). It was fine. Once it was established that we were ‘Mericans, most of the people helping us easily switched to English. It was awesome. Didn’t mean that we didn’t try to speak like the natives, but it was nice to recognize that the pressure was off.

Le Metro. I envisioned a lot of Uber rides to our destinations. I just did. When I go to New York, for example, unless I’m with someone who lives there, I avoid the subway like the plague. Cabs and Uber for me. But the advantage of living like two steps away from the metro station where we were (13th arrondisement and about 10-15 minutes outside of Paris) was that we learned how to use the system. And it was awesome. First of all, the French have a pink line, so applause for that on its own. Second, it’s very, very easy to figure out. Grab a Navigo card (valid for a whopping ten years), load it up, grab a map (which has all the touristy sites listed on it) or an app (I loved the Paris Metro app; very handy for creating routes and easily seeing what lines to take), and you’re good to go. We only made use of Uber to Versailles, which would have taken a zillion hours by train, and for those nights when we were gallivanting around the city way past our bedtimes.

Honorable Mentions that I’m sure you know already. 1) It helped to not reside so close to Paris. We were away from the crowds and able to get everywhere by train. If possible, with any city, really, some distance between you and the hotbed is really quite nice. 2) Bring cash. Just better. A credit card in case of emergencies, but cash is just better. Make friends with the ATMs in the area. 3) Use up your coinage. Most banks won’t covert them.

Last but Not Least in Any Way. Pick pockets don’t play. Mind your stuff at all times. There were plenty of occasions when my starry-eyed appraisal of the city kept me from noticing that the opening to my cross-body handbag was behind me rather than in front of me. Don’t be like me. Or, as it also was in my case, have a good friend to quickly remind you to come back to earth and watch your bag.

It was a marvelous. magnificent trip, dear readers. I loved every moment of it. Even the aching joints and the Aspercreme. There’s more to tell and I will tell and I will share. At this point, though, I leave you with a photo I took with my girls during the trip. The smiles say all, n’est-ce pas?

  

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