According to Urban Dictionary

Boheme - Carefree lifestyle unbounded by convention.

Bohemian - Movement of artist and poets in late 19th century France, especially in Paris. Bohemians believed in living outside of the bourgeois (conventional, middle class) mainstream culture. Bohemians were against the Salon (the institution that controlled the literary and art market in France until the turn of the 20th century)and believed that art and literature should be radical. They often gathered in "cafes" and drank absinthe. Many Bohemians were politically radical, being either anarchists or members of the Commune de Paris during the Franco-Prussian war. The Bohemian movement died out at the turn of the century but had a large influence on later movements such as surrealism, the beat generation, and punk rock.
Toulouse - Lautrec depicted the romanticized life of many Bohemians, although the reality of the life-style was often very difficult and tragic.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

First Sunday of the month.

Today we were up at the crack of dawn (8.00) again. On the first Sunday of the month in Paris all the major museums and many minor ones are free for all. Mum had never been to the Musee d'Orsay, so we decided we would go there. To try and beat the heat and the crowds of people, we arose early and set out at nine for the gallery. When we got there the line was already large, but could have been much worse. There were guides there ensuring people kept in nice, neat lines as if herding cattle into a pen. The line snaked this way and that, looping around and fortunately was moving quite steadily, creating a sense of a ordered, but at the same time, chaotic crowd stepping forward and moving this way and that along their alotted lines. Once inside the museum, we wandered round enjoying the art works and I caused at least one man great consternation as he was evesdropping on our conversation. After saying to Mum that I didn't really like Sisley's work because I found them too flat, boring and uninspired (an opinion I stand by as my own and I'm entitled to) I noticed the man in front of us turn round and stare at me as if he couldn't believe his ears. How on earth could I not like Sisley? I could see his mind say. Not yet done in my shocking of people who clearly shouldn't be listening to me anyway; I later stated that I don't get it when people go round taking photographs of art as if to say yes I've done that museum I saw this, this and this, when really they don't see much of anything, but the lens of the camera. They are not enjoying the art; too busy taking photos to show they have been in the place. One man with a camera firmly attached to his hand gave me a strange look after this comment. We paused in the cafe for coffee and cake, before viewing the rest of the gallery. Having finished looking round the D'Orsay we then decided to go for a ride on the Seine. We bought tickets for the Batobus which is a hop on hop off boat and headed on up the Seine. Now it was us who had our cameras firmly attached to our hands. We passed Notre Dame, some passengers got off and others on and we remained; thinking we would do the whole circuit, but on the way to the next stop Jardin des Plantes, I spied a market running along the bank of the Seine. We hopped out and went for a wander in the Market ,after which we walked back towards Notre Dame stopping for lunch on a restaurant boat moored beside the Seine, before hopping back on the Batobus and resuming our journey. Now we were moving up the Seine again, this time by the right bank, before disembarking at La Tour Eiffel and walking to Bir Hakeim Metro to take line 6 to the Art Market at Edgar Quinet. Here I bought a painting from one of the Artists, before we headed home arriving back at 6 o'clock, 9 hours after leaving the house.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Montmartre, Sacre Coeur and Pigalle.

Today Mum and I explored Montmartre we took the metro from my place to Place de Clichy, then walked along Boulevarde Clichy towards the Moulin Rouge where we paused momentarily to take a photo, before starting the climb up the hill. We followed the little street near Metro Blanche up the hill past all the little specialist shops, bouchers, rotisseries, fromageries and poissoniers, not to mention lots of florist. We then stopped halfway up at a row of Cafes and entered one for lunch, where we both had a smoked salmon, prawn and avocado salad before continuing on up the hill. We past the Moulin de la Galette Restaurant and finally made it to the top and the little streets of tourist and painting shops that lead to the Place de Tertre. Here we bought an icecream before heading round the Place de Tertre looking at the art and then continuing on to Sacre Coeur. We went into Sacre Coeur, then took some photos of the view before heading down the loads of steps where we were accosted by African con artists attempting to tie bracelets on our wrists. From here we ventured into the depths of the material market, where we soon surrounded by loads upon loads of fabrics of all varieties. After this we stopped briefly in Rouchouart- Clignacourt at the bottom of the material markets for a very overpriced cool drink before catching a bus to the Tracadero. Once at the Trocadero, Mum saw the Eiffel Tower, finally having been in Paris for five days previously without catching a glimpse of it, then we trundled on home worn out from the busy day of walking. However, our day was not yet done; after a brief respite and cool down at home, we headed out again back to where we had come from to meet M at the Metro Pigalle. Having met up with M, we went down to a nice Italian restaurant called Fuxia in Pigalle, where I had dined last week with L and G. We had a very nice dinner before deciding to head home. On the way we were waylaid; after a phone call with L and decided to meet her and a friend up near Abessess Station, where we went for a drink before eventually arriving home where I am now writing this at 12.30 at night. It was a very eventful and interesting day, with a lot of walking as that is the only way of really getting around Paris. It wouldn't be so bad if not for the heat. As we were heading out again at 7 this evening we caught a glimpse of a electronic thermometer at a pharmacy which said 33 degrees. The heat is becoming unbearable and I am constantly raining; leaving me to wonder why it is that I was craving Summer having had two winters in a row.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mum in Paris.

On Saturday I picked Mum up from the airport and we made the hour or so trek back to my house. After a break we got lunch from my local boulanger and then went for a wander through my area and to the Monoprix so I could do some food shopping. Then, on Sunday morning, up at the crack of dawn for me, lol 8.00 in the morning; we headed out into Paris getting off the metro at St Michel and wandering along the Rive Gauche of the Seine, stopping to look at some of the books from the booksellers and to take photos here and there. We then went to a cafe on Rue du Bac for an early lunch, before heading across the river through the Louvre Courtyard stopping to look at the Pyramid which wasn't there the last time Mum was in Paris; before catching the metro to 'Bois de Vincennes' for my Sunday soccer game. Played soccer in the blistering heat and got the red shoulders, back and chest to prove it, before heading back to my place for a shower, a quick rest, an early dinner and then out again to see a friends band "Misleadin" play. When we got to the venue it turned out to be a club on a boat moored to the Rive Gauche of the Seine. It was a very cool venue although the sound technician could have been better. After the band was finished we had a coffee in a cafe and returned home exhausted from a long day of walking. Monday morning began more slowly, with us doing things around the house before heading out to the Marais for lunch. We took the metro to Chatelet where a nice band was busking and there delightful strains were wafting through the metro trying to brighten the lives of the busy Parisians who hurried on by with their usual permanent frowns intact. After pausing for a little to enjoy the music, we headed out in to the awful crush of people on Rue de Rivoli that is the neverending saga of Chatelet. We headed up past the stone tower and past Hotel de Ville and into the Marais, where we stopped at a cafe for lunch. We both had amazing salads and some ok Rose before continuing through the Marais to witness the amazingly historical quartier that it is and walking for kilometers again on already tired feet. After which, exhausted, we headed for home to have a sit down and then some dinner, then more sitting and finally after weeks, some blogging.


Wow, it's been nearly two months since I posted. I knew it was a long time, but hadn't realised it was that long. Now I have lots of catching up to do. One of the main things I did in these two months was to go to Giverny with M one Saturday to walk in the Gardens of Inspiration, originally planted by Claude Monet, when he lived there. There are two gardens; a Japanese inspired garden with ponds and bridges and water lillies, which are prolific throughout Monet's works and a more formal neatly laid garden in front of the house (which is now a museum). Monet was very much into the orient and had many Japanese art prints which inspired his Waterlilly Garden. Many of these prints, or similar styled prints, are still in his house today and you can see them when you wander through it. At the time that he built his garden in the 19th Century, the villagers were very wary of all the strange plants he was putting into his garden and the ponds; and they worried that they would infect the town's water supply. After Monet's death, the grounds fell into disrepair, but in the 80's they were resurrected and replanted according to the way he had originally planted the garden and it was turned into the museum that is there today.
Now, finished with the history lesson; so back to the story! M and I set off early in the morning from Gare St Lazare and took a train to Vernon, the closest town to Giverny. From Vernon we then caught a shuttle to Giverny, which stops in a carpark at the side of a grassy wood that has a river running through it. We set off on the trail through the wood and followed a sign to see a bust of Monet. We then meandered back along the river, across the river, under the road, beside the road and left down a laneway and into a gate. We had already bought tickets from FNAC so therefore didn't have to queue. We were straight in the gate and through to the Waterlilly Garden where we wandered along in the morning sunlight, enjoying the flowers of all kinds and the waterlillies which were just beginning to bloom. From the Japanese garden we made our way through to the Formal Garden that is splayed out in front of the house and strolled up and down the lanes before making our way into the house. Afterwards, we had lunch in the garden of a hotel amidst more flowers and green hills and paddocks. We then made our way through the town and came across a field of poppies spread out before us on a slight incline. We walked the paths between the poppies before lying in the shade beside the poppies for an hour or so. Then we went to see Monet's grave before heading back to Paris. It was so nice to be out in the countryside for the day before returning to the pandemonium of the city.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An observation.

One thing that never seems to make it home from the shops intact is baguettes. I often see people walking home from the boulangerie with a baguette and the top is missing. So next time you are in Paris and see someone with a baguette have a look and see if the end is intact.

Football in the park.

Today I played football (soccer) in the park with a bunch of ladies who are trying to bring female sport to Paris. It is funny because girls here don't really play sports and when people find out you are off to play a game they are really surprised. I was looking for a netball team, but they do not exist here; mostly the choice is tennis, tennis or tennis. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and at least I can kick the ball even if it doesn't always go where I want. I am tired now and I know tomorrow that my legs will kill me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

All the kooks were out and about tonight.

Tonight I met up for a drink and dinner with S and a friend of hers A, who is out from London for the weekend. It was a lovely warm evening and we met at Café Oz for a drink. We were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and people watching as they passed on by; playing spot the tourist and spot the Parisian. We also saw a far number of hen’s parties or if they weren’t, then a number of questionable wardrobe choices. Following this we meandered along to Saint Michel and the cheap dinner places where we ate a three course meal and drank a bottle of rose. After which we headed to Quigley’s Point in Les Halles to meet up with M. While waiting for M next to St Eustache Church, an older man with a dog approached. First he tried to give us a flower he plucked from the bush. After a shake of my head and a firm non, non, he proceeded to regale us with a rambling litany in French of how the moon is feminine and the sun is masculine and the male sun is reflected in the feminine moon and they meet and mingle, or some such story. This however, was interspersed with his laughter as he clearly thought he was being very funny, which in turn was making the three of us laugh although we were all turning away to try and hide it and also to avoid making eye contact. At this point he clearly realises that we are not French and starts asking if we speak French and not getting the gist of our turned backs he then asks where are we from, to which S replies Antarctica, which makes it all seem funnier. He then informs us again, amidst his own laughter at how funny he is, that he is a doctor, a sex doctor, before turning and moving on. He was a kook indeed, but a harmless one, and a funny story to tell. Then after I got home and had had a shower I was wrapped in my towel wandering round winding down for the night when I kept hearing a knocking sound. Enter second kook of the night, (if you don’t include the girls dressed for hens' nights.) At first I thought someone was knocking on my door and as it was two o’clock in the morning ignored this. The knocking continued and after awhile I realised it was a guy outside knocking on my windows. One of the disadvantages of being on the ground floor; a lot of ground floor apartments in Paris are the building concierge. Anyway I turned all my lights out and hid till he went away even though you can’t see in my windows thanks to the tricky windows where you can see out, but not in from the other side. He went away or so I thought and I got ready for bed, but realising I was no longer able to sleep just yet, I am sitting here writing this and now he is back again at three knocking. There was no way I was going to get up at 2 or 3 in the morning to let some weird stranger into the building. If he had a legitimate reason to be around at time, he wouldn’t need to be knocking on the window. Anyway, that was my night with the kooks of Paris, you certainly meet all kinds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day!

Today is the first of May and one of the charming french customs is the buying of a pot or bouquet of Muguet de Bois ( Lily of the Valley), for yourself, a friend or a partner. Lily of the Valley is referred to as a "porte-bonheur" which means "bringer of happiness" and is considered to be a good luck charm. I love this idea as it seems to me to stem back to the Pagan holiday of Beltaine, the celebration of fertility and the first planting of the season. Everywhere around Paris people set up street stalls selling pots of Muguet de Bois. It is the only day when it is actually legal for random street sellers to sell without a permit and many kids set up stalls for pocket money. I browsed the stalls in my area and settled on a nice purple bucket of lily of the valley and now the fragrance is wafting around in my little apartment as I type this.

Anzac Day!

Last Saturday was the 25th of April; Anzac Day. So, living in France, I decided to go to the Somme, one of the historical sites of many of the battles that we celebrate on Anzac Day. This entailed going to the Australian Embassy to catch the bus at 2 AM, did I mention it was a dawn service. So L and I caught the bus at 2 in the morning and headed for Villers Bretonneux, the site of the official Anzac War Memorial at the Somme. We got there around 4.45 and the service started at 5.30. It was absolutely freezing and because it had been warm in Paris lately, neither L or I had worn warm enough clothes. So there we sat and froze. It made me think of the extreme temperatures the soldiers would have endured as they fought. The Service was good and it was a great experience, but for me the best part was to see the Anzac spirit is still alive. There were around 4000 people there and later in the little town there were more ceremonies. The truly amazing thing is how the town's history has become entwined with Australia. Walking through the town after the service, looking for a place to have coffee, we passed le Kangourou Cafe, a newsagency with Australiana adorning the windows, a charcuterie with a stop for Koalas sign. Outside the Town Hall were wooden kangaroos and koalas. The whole town, for a day at least, embraces the spirit of Australia and the soldiers that fought in the First World War. The Anzac spirit is alive and thriving not only in Australia, but in the places where so many gave their lives.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twisted sense of direction!

The other day a friend commented to me that I never seem to get lost and always know my way around. Now, I know anyone who knows me well, is in hysterics by now and not believing this. Many people who come to Paris complain about how hard it is to get around and how it is all twisted around. However, I do seem to have an uncanny knack of finding my way around Paris. My own peculiar twisted sense of direction seems to work wonders in Paris! Finally, I have found somewhere, where I am not forever getting lost. Hallelujah!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A week of ups and downs in Paris!

It’s been a strange week; both good and bad. On the negative side I lost my phone and of course all my contacts numbers, because I never keep a hard copy. You think I would learn but I never seem to. Then a few nights later the teller machine ate my bank card, so it has been a frustrating week. However, it is not all grim and darkness, I have been to some interesting places in the last week. Starting with last Saturday I went to lunch for L’s birthday. We went first to a café in Montmarte for a drink; kicking off the afternoon with a nice glass of red. We then headed up the hill to Le Moulin de la Galette restaurant. It is on the site of one of the old windmills of Paris and I have often walked passed it and wanted to see what it was like, so was very happy to go to lunch there. There were 10 girls and one guy, with a majority of them being French, a lot of the conversation was in French and was quite testing of my limited French skills. Then after the lunch we headed back down the hill to another café/ bar for another drink. Altogether it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Drinking wine and eating yummy, yummy food. In true French style there was a set menu where you can order three courses. For starters I had Salmon with roe and lentils followed by cochon and veges followed by Opera Gateaux. Then I stumbled home, full of good food and wine and pleasant memories. Following a relaxing weekend, came St Patrick’s Day on Tuesday, prompting M, L and me to go to O’Sullivans in Pigalle for a night of dancing. Also this week I have been to two nice bars to listen to live music. On Thursday, T was singing at a bar in Bastille called Discoteque, so I went along to check it out. It had a very grungy, hip vibe with a bar as you walk in; then a couple of small rooms leading into each other all painted in a yellow colour with pictures of jazz musicians and posters and records hung up around the place. T is a singer songwriter and performed a set of her songs; it was a great sound, similar in part to Suzanne Vega with the same mellowed tones. Then on Friday night I went to the Swan Bar in Montparnasse to hear N sing some Jazz. She has an amazing voice and spent a nice few hours drinking a glass of red and listening to the haunting sounds of jazz wafting through Paris. So, it has been a busy week for me out on the town in Paris, and bar a couple of mishaps along the way, was altogether not a bad week in Paris.

Below are some pictures of Le Moulin de la Galette restaurant

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photos on request.

Ok so I have been posting a lot tonight. Funny how going to a book launch can inspire me to write. I have been requested to post some photos, so I have had a look through my photos and this is what I have come up with. Please enjoy.

An interesting character.

Last Sunday at the Writers Atelier, G asked us to talk about an interesting character in Paris we had met; who we would like to write about or view their life for a day. There were too many and I couldn't really think of any in particular, but I talked about the artist I met who ran an Atelier in a set of tiny rooms. The first was like an entrance room of 3metres squared, which led into a room of maybe 15 metres squared, where he had ten artists at easels, crammed into the space, painting different things. They stopped for tea and he passed around all these obscure postcards of artists and wanted people to tell him about them. Anyway, today I saw a much more intriguing character. I was walking along the street this morning on the way to Monoprix (the supermarket) for my groceries. I was walking along when I spotted this man walking then he stopped and turned and gave a little jump and ran on a few feet. Then he started walking along again as if normal; before stopping and repeating the process and then resumes walking and then stepping into a shop window to watch the street. It was a very interesting display to watch and I could not work out if he had a problem, or if he was just playing still. It is intriguing and makes me wish I could sometimes see inside certain people's heads for a day to see what they see.

On the Metro.

I have a love hate relationship with the Metro. I love it because it is such an easy system to use and you can get wherever you need to go relatively easily. I hate it when it is crowded and too many people pushing and shoving you. I love it in the quieter periods, where I can sit and indulge in one of my favourite pastimes of people watching. I love the interesting characters that you see, like the day there was a quaint old french man with his jaunty little hat humming the tune to La Vie en Rose, which was then in my head for the rest of the day. Tonight on the Metro, I witnessed one of the most graceful slides that I have seen. A man caught unawares went sliding back as the train took off and kind of glided towards the pole coming to rest against it with a graceful sweep of one leg crossing in front of the other, resulting in him nonchalantly leaning against the pole as if nothing had happened. Most impressive, as opposed to the one I witnessed the other night where there were a group of drunk middle aged Englishmen heading back after a night out the town. One of them lost his footing and went flying from one pole all the way down the middle of the train to the next pole. Of course in his inebriated state, it was the funniest thing in the world and it actually was quite funny. Anyway the Metro is a breeding ground for interesting characters; quick glimpses at other people's behaviour.

Book Launch

Tonight I went to a book launch at W.H Smith bookshop. It was an enjoyable evening the book is a compilation of journal entries and photographs taken by the author Michael Katarkis. Coming out of the bookshop afterwards I could feel a warmth in the air it was still cool but with a warmth to it as well. the weather is changing and spring is on its way finally. On the metro I started to read the book and would highly recomend it to anyone interested in unique snapshots into other worlds. Indeed I became so lost in the book that I missed my stop and had to change at a different stop to get home, which I nearly also missed. Oops but it is an enjoyable read.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Every Sunday afternoon I make my way slowly to the Marais to meet up with people from the writer's atelier. We meet in various cafes throughout the Marais for a coffee or wine and a chat. It is a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Paris. Sleep through the morning get up late meander around getting ready then stroll along to some metro stop and make my way idly to the Marais. Along the way yesterday I stumbled along an impromptu flea market set up at the bottom of my street. Stalls of beautiful old furniture, books and bric a brac. There were crates of beautiful china dinner sets, stalls of musty old books and piles of wooden furniture. What a lovely surprise for a Sunday stroll. I have grown to love Sundays, at first I hated that all the shops were shut and places deserted. However, I have grown to love the quietness of my Sunday ramblings and then at times the non quietness when you happen upon an area of bustling activity like yesterdays market or the activity when you eventually reach the Marais, which never seems to shut down. All in all I now enjoy my Sunday afternoons in Paris!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More sidewalk presents.

I've already blogged about how annoying the dog presents on the sidewalks of Paris are,but another pet hate of mine is the big gobs of spit everywhere that one also has to dodge. etween the Dog poo and the spit gobules on some pavements in Paris it is like you are doing a dance down the street, weaving back and forth in order to dodge them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hidden things!

All my good intentions to blog regulary quickly went out the window as it has been ages since I last added anything. One thing I have discovered over the weeks since I last wrote is that lots of the best places to go in Paris are hidden. Unless you are actually looking for a certain place because you have been told to go there you will just walk right on by. Even if you are looking for a place sometimes you still walk right on by. One such place is the Swedish cultural club overlooking the tuilleries, it is a private club, but opens its doors to the public on a wednesday night. when I went to this club I walked right past it a couple of times it is just in a normal apartment building you have to buzz in the big doors (everywhere in paris are buzz doors), which leads you to the courtyard of the apartment complex and from there you walk into one of the buildings and it is on the second floor. Thus, even when looking for this place it was extremely hard to find but worth it in the end. With two main rooms, one with a bar and one with a jazz band, it was an intersting experience. Other little gems include literary cafes in the heart of the Marais, tapas bars buried in Les Halles, backstreet artist ateliers, backrooms of dingy pubs where live starter bands perform. If you know where to look Paris is full of hidden gems and it is the journey towards finding them that makes life interesting.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A walk in the 14th and later a Marilyn moment!

Yesterday I went to another meetup group the new in town meetup. It was a walk around a certain part of the fourteenth arrondissement. This is actually the arrondissement where I am living luckily though it was a different area to those I usually frequent and was very insightful to see another side of Paris. Edward the organiser was showing us an area that is like a little village instead of a city in behind ugly modern buildings were little culsdesac of houses and little twisting laneways. We ended the walk in a cafe by parc Montsouris and it was a very pleasant way to spend a saturday afternnoon unfortunately it all came to an abrupt end with a sudden mass exodus, but four of us headed to china town(if you can call it that) for dinner. I have to say I'm not sure if we actually found china town or not because what we came across was a street with asian restaurants on it, I was expecting a bigger area like in Sydney or other major cities. On the way to china town I experienced a Marilyn moment when I walked across an airvent and my skirt blew up, thank goodness for leggings. All in all it was a good saturday afternoon in Paris.

I love the art deco patterning on this building.

A collection of houses.

For mum a london taxi in Paris

Men playing boules in the square.

A Natural spring where people collect their water.