Monday, January 29, 2007

paris . . . cinq

{my patio
this morning}

i meant to
finish up
my paris stories
on friday

so sorry
for the delay.

. . . . .

there are so many
left to tell
but i think
i should wrap up
with two
i'd like to share...

i mentioned
that my parents met
the comedie francaise...

. . . . .

if you wait
a half hour
a performance at
the the comedie francaise,
they sell
cheap tickets
for the
nose-bleed seats....
that's what
my mom
and her friends
when they were
poor students.
they'd show up
about 2 hours
the show started,
stand in line
for about
an hour
and get
their tickets
{for about
a dollar
or two}.

the seats were
way up high
but you could see
just fine...

the only problem
it was difficult
to hear
if you are not
a native speaker,
you really really
want to hear

my dad
had decided
to go to
the theatre
that night...
they sold him
the very last
of the cheap tickets
(all other tickets
were long-since
sold out).
my dad,
fluent in french,
is hard of hearing
and has
a difficult time
spoken french...
that night
they happened
to be performing
one of
his favorite plays
that he knew
by heart in both
english and french.

he arrived late.
they sold him
a seat
that wasn't really
a seat
but rather
a fold down
usher seat.
so not only did
he come in late
but he had
to fold down
this really loud
wooden seat
next to my mom.

{and everyone else}
hushed him

my mother
happened to be
her english friend
didn't speak french
very well,
so after the show
my dad heard them
speaking english
a conversation...

the next day
they all met
for coffee
and had
a wonderful time.
my mother
was impressed
that an american
could know
so much
about french
german literature.
this is one of the
she gave
an american
the time of day.

. . . . .

my mother
and i went
to see
cyrano de bergerac

(because i knew
the story well)...

the theatre hadn't
changed one bit

(except for backstage).
it was beautiful
and quite an
amazing experience
to go there
with my mom.
we didn't sit up high
because she wanted
me to be able
to hear properly
but we went up
to the nose-bleed seats
during intermission.
i only had
a moment
to take it all in
but it made quite
the impression...
to look down
from those seats
like my mother
and father did
over 40 years ago.

. . . . .

while in paris
of course,
had to drag
my mother
the fleamarket.

she had
never been there
afterwards admitted
it was
quite something.
we barely
grazed the surface...
there were just
so many
little markets...
we only saw
most of
marché vernaison.
there were
so many amazing things...
but unfortunately
was so overpriced...
i treated myself
to some buttons,
french type blocks,
and doll eyes

in a
wonderful store
would be
joseph cornell's
i must return
next year.
i really can't even
describe to you
how many
amazingly cool things
there were...

from vintage industrial
draft stools
to old scientific
tooth models.
i wanted the
tooth model
{i have a thing
for old science models)
but i settled on
an old
from 1960s
on germination
with all the parts
of a flower
labeled in french.
i desperately wanted
the silkworm
poster but
for some reason
it was 70 euros
and i was way
to shy to haggle.

i hear there
are much cheaper
less touristy markets.
i will have to find them
but i am afraid
unless the dollar
getting stronger,
vintage shopping
in paris
will be out of
my reach.

. . . . .

i hope that
my little
paris vignettes...
thanks for
sharing them
with me.

i'll leave you
with my view
of the
chesapeake bay
as i flew into dc
from paris.




Erin Lang Norris said...

wow, great photos- as always.

very sweet that your dad knows the play by heart- i wish more people had such a passion for things.

those little flea markets look like so much fun! i know i would have wanted to take it all home.

Carson said...

Thanks Gwen for those fab interior shots of the Comedie Francaise.
I'm a theatre person and some habits die hard!

Kerstin Svendsen said...

i have indeed so enjoyed your vignettes. that theatre looks beautiful. and so wonderful to experience the place your parents first met.
thanks for sharing gwen!

amisha said...

these paris posts are amazing. i loved today's installment, and the stories of your parents' meeting at the theater, the vintage shops of paris (sounds wonderful!), the photos... all beautiful. i'm so happy that you were able to have this experience with your mother.

Anonymous said...

oh how I love this post! I want to go to paris and shop the markets even more now! le sigh*

I think its really sweet, your parents story, so wonderful that you got to experience it the way you did.
I heart you and your family!


Anonymous said...

I love the story of how your parents met, sometimes you just have to be at the right place at the right time :) I heard of Cyrano when I discovered the wonderful illustrations of Rebecca Dautremer, you must have had a fabulous time! Love your patio, is it newly paved? The flea markets looks amazing, how I would love to be there with you.

hannah said...

i think it is just wonderful that you were able to go to the theater that your mother and father had their first encounter! what a wonderful way to bring their story to life! thank you so much for sharing your trip with us.

Anonymous said...

thank´s for the charming story - my parents met in a "beer garden" ;)
lovely paris finds, craving for the fleamarket season ...

Anonymous said...

the paris posts have been so good.

your personal narrative is set against such a great backdrop-- and language is important to it, which i love. thanks for putting it out there, gwen!

Anonymous said...

amazing story, gwen!
how cute are your parents, and how sweet your descriptions.
thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

All your Paris photos are amazing but today your parents story did it for me!! So amazing that you went back to the place they met - i LOVE theatres...the history behind them...the architecture...and your story was like a play in the right setting...beautiful!!
Aaahh..flea tempting :)

lisa solomon said...

you saved the best for last.... even though i knew that story it still hits reading it again....

oh my god the flea markets. i'm so jealous. even just to look. sigh... that store sounds amazing too.... i have similar stories from amsterdam. i could have brought a gazillon things home... sigh.....xo

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story that is about your folks meeting up. And all that treasure in the flea market, oh my how exciting...

Anonymous said...

How I have loved seeing Paris through your eyes, and feeling it through your words...
take care, g xo