Tuesday, 7 August 2007

...for Paris is a moveable feast

While rummaging round looking for the picture of the Grande Arche, I came across a set of greetings cards, prints of pen and ink sketches from Sonia Bignall, who did the picture of the red 2CV.

I think her work is lovely, clearly so lovely that I haven't been able to bring myself to use these. I recognise all but one of the locations, the second, but it may just be AN Other (Beautiful) Building.

Although the Eiffel Tower is very much an icon, I've always thought it rather ugly, except from a considerable distance, and yet it was considered to be quite a selling point to have a view of the Eiffel Tower. Our younger son's friend used to live very close by, so I saw it often.

[Do visit the link I've given above to find out where you can have sandwich chicken crudenesses without waiting if the staircase is borrowed ;) Did it never occur to them to ask an Englih speaker to proof read?]

This is the one I don't recognise.

Very soon after we arrived in Paris, I joined a library, in fact volunteered to help out of sheer self interest (first choice of all books). The first time I turned up for duty, I emerged from the métro station at the Arc de Triomphe and as I was climbing the stairs my jaw dropped. It was a beautiful sunny day with a cloudless sky. I had never seen the Arc before, and it just took my breath away. I walked all the way around from the far side of the roads that circle it, trying hard not to look too touristy (after all, I was now a resident!) but probably with my mouth gaping the whole time. Only two other places have had the same effect.

Because our son's friend lived near the Eiffel Tower, I used to have to drive there and back regularly, and that involved negotiating the Etoile Charles de Gaulle, in the centre of which is the Arc. If you can drive there, you can drive anywhere.

Notre Dame de Paris. A wonderful building in an even more wonderful setting and another place that looks stunning on a frosty day in the sunshine. I was disappointed though that I didn't manage to experience that feeling of awe, majesty and history, which I usually find in a catherdral, chiefly because of the large number of people who were talking, laughing, taking photos and generally milling around. That tends to happen in most places nowadays but there for some reason it was more intrusive.

Sacré Coeur from the far side. There is the most fantastic view from the top, but it is a long, long way up, especially if you haven't realised there is a funicular rail to take you to the basilica. Montmartre as an area is very interesting to see, best off season, and it even boasts a vineyard.

So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of four sights, or even sites, in Paris, courtesy of Sonia Bignall's greetings cards.

PS Captain Lifecruiser's blog has a post today about Paris, beautifully illustrated.

Updated to explain the title of the post: it's from Hemingway who said:

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."


  1. Wonderful - at about the same time you were at my blog, I was here reading this post - and preparing to link to it in my Paris post :-)

    Those greeting cars are so charmy!!! I love them too.

  2. Lovely blog indeed. I should pass along a link to some photos in which you may be interested. I used to live in La Celle St. Cloud to the west of Paris. At that time, Sonia painted a water-colour of our home in La Celle St. Cloud.
    My siblings and I can be seen on the pavement as well as in one one of the windows. She really is quite a talented artist. I have several of her works hanging in my hallway to this day. They constantly remind me of the (often hidden) beauty of Paris.


  3. Thank you for that link Charles. It's great to be able to see more of her work, and I wish I had more.

    We lived not very far from La Celle St Cloud in Fourqueux but unfortunately the house was modern with less character.

  4. I am very late getting to you with this information, as I just happened upon your blog when looking for something about Sonia Bignall.

    The second drawing would seem to be the Place Fürstenberg, on the left bank.

    Happy moveable feast to you.

  5. Hello,
    Do you know Where the place with 4 trees was drawing ?
    Thank you

  6. I beleive it's Place de Furstenberg http://www.paris-a-nu.fr/la-place-de-furstenberg/


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