Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chocolate Easter-Walks in Paris

 Am in Paris this month
and got here just in time to enjoy (at least through glass)
 the many wonderful shop windows 
gleefully celebrating the joys of Easter and chocolate.

 So thought I'd share.

I spent Easter weekend with family 
making a quick road trip to the beautiful Brittany coast
who was (unusually) having the best weather anywhere in France.
I fell in love with the Medieval town of Fougere,
which will have to be another post.

These eggs and goodies were inside my favorite bakery in Paris (for the decor):
La Fontaine de Mars boulangerie right across from the square of the same name. 
The interior is magnificent with the ceiling and moulding
still resplendent from days long past.
(photos can be seen here)

Spring is in full swing here in Paris
and I loved this giant chocolate egg
covered with butterflies and daisies for the season.

Happy Belated Easter and spring to all from Paris!

(photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Invention of Paris~ Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB at shouldbereading.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read,
*Open to a random page,
*Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page,
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title & author.

From The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps" by Eric Hazan. (p.15-16)

"In the Middle Ages, only three places in Paris were permanently illuminated at night: the gate of the Chatelet tribunal, where Philippe le Bel had placed a wood-framed lantern filled with pig bladders to deter the criminal enterprises that were hatched right outside; the Tour Nesle, where a beacon marked the entry to Paris for boatmen coming up the Seine; and the lantern of the dead in the Innocents cemetery. Those heading into the dark of the city were advised to make use of an escort of armed torchmen, as one could hardly trust the protection of the watch, whether civic or royal. 

At the same time as Louis XIV made Paris an open city, and launched the construction of his new avenue, he took two measures that marked the beginning of the modern age: he had nearly three thousand lanterns installed in the streets--glass cages protecting candles, hung from ropes at first-floor level-- and he established the post of  lieutenant-general of police, in command of a significant armed force. (It was the first of these officers, La Reynie, who emptied out the courts of miracles and embarked on the 'great confinement', shutting up beggars and deviants in the new prison hospitals of the Salpetriere and Bicetre.)"

Will most likely be inundating you with a few new photos of Paris this week. And trying to catch up on a little Parisian history! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dreaming of Poilane~ Travelin' Tuesday

Since we missed 'Missing Paris Day' yesterday,
we'll just travel to Paris today. 
Some of you who know me,
or have been coming here very long,
know that I love Poilane's window displays.

Just down the block from us,
they create charming Paris window scenes made out of bread crust.
Besides the little animals here, 
(in case you're having trouble making them out,
that's a chipmunk on the ground and a cat scoping out a bird on the bench, looking ready to pounce),
don't you love the precious snowflake cookies falling from the sky?! 
Poilane is famous for these little cookies.

At the moment, I sit writing at a local spot,
pleasantly perched next to the fire,
having visited with a friend who just returned from Santa Fe.
I do so love hearing other people's travel tales.
Speaking of which, maybe it's time for this spring's book giveaway!
I'll keep you posted when I know more.
A bientot! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers~ Travelin' Tuesday

Enough with rain and grayness. 
Let's travel to a place literally growing, teasing out, burgeoning with color. 
One of the things I love about San Francisco
is Golden Gate Park's ethereal Conservatory of Flowers... 

with its white wedding cake frosting...
we enter as 
'spiritual window shoppers'...

to balmy rooms filled with jewels of such sweetness
they help us grow sweet again...

...eager faces lifting toward the light,

jewels of such tenderness
they are crushed by the slightest touch...

epiphanies close to the edge...

love stories naked
 healing wounds...

essences overflow
in a fragrant rush of fresh mounds and raw dirt...

sacredness radiating in beaded mist...

minerals spin in plants
just as souls move in changing light...

 chance meetings
the clearest signs of grace...

power and magic
frequent occurrences...

Ahh, the wisdom of spring. 

Rain, shine or misty fog,
Golden Gate Park's temperate botanical garden
is a treasure trove of rare and exotic, tropical plants. 

At the Conservatory:
April 7-Oct.30, 2011
Don't miss
'Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues and Assassins'.
The Special Exhibits Gallery at the Conservatory
"introduces visitors to living examples of dozens of infamous plants that have left their mark on history
and claimed many an unfortunate victim."
For more information, click here.

(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen
Words inspired by The Soul of Rumi)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Each Moment is a Gem~ Buddhist Thought for the Day

"Each moment you are alive is a gem. You only need to breathe gently for the miracles to be displayed." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The birthday card my aunt sent this year
had this sentiment on it. Little did she know, the Buddhist calendar The Chef got me for Christmas
had this very sentiment for the month of February. So when I read it, I knew I'd seen it before and I needed to pay attention. 
A friend of ours from Greece survived colon cancer
and his daily motto is:
"Each day is a gift!" 
And each motto reminds me of the other. 

Wishing you the miraculous gift of every single day!

(Photography copyright: Kirsten Steen)