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, 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 CafĂ© 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.