Saturday, September 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I walked in my neighborhood today, strolled almost the whole of Rue des Martyrs. It bustles with shoppers. Lots of young people. Lots of cafes and restaurants, shops. Very colorful. On the way home I sat by the carousel and took a couple of pictures. I'm a self-conscious photographer, makes me feel like a tourist, but it's fun, and I like having the images. This is the view just around the corner from my house. I like Rue des Martyrs. The travel writer who called it "hip" was right.

And this is my front door, the one I tripped over a couple days ago. I fell just inside. You can't really see it from the photo, but there's a small door inside those two big doors and it doesn't go to the ground. It's about three inches off the pavement. You have to step up and over. I tripped on it as I stepped inside the first day, fell flat on my face. Luckily it didn't damage anything but my pride. The chairs out on the street belong to a Moroccan restaurant that I'm told is very good. It smells good. My apartment is in the back facing a courtyard so I don't hear any street noise at all, which is very nice.

I also found a door that I want in my book. One of the things I figured out today, which I hadn't fully understood, is that a lot of the buildings in this area were being built during the time of my story and also afterward. Streets were being torn up, redesigned. This might be one of them, I don't know yet, but I liked the doorway so much I stopped to photograph it. The wrought iron work above it is bigger, but similar to what's on my own window. This is just another doorway like my own, only it's quite near to where Georges Sand was living at the time.

That's where I was today, at a museum featuring Georges Sand. Her belonging are on display in what was the home of the painter, a Dutch ex-patriot who was very much a celebrity of the time. He painted portraits of the wealthy and held salons that Sand, Chopin and Liszt often attended.

He has several paintings that I quite like, including this one of Eurydice dying in Orpheus' arms. If you know anything about the symbolism in The Appassionata, then you'll understand how happy I was to discover this image. It was really difficult to come by—I finally found it on the after a long search. It's in Blois, which is south of Orleans in the Loire Valley. I'm thinking it might be one of the places beyond Paris I go to visit.

In any event, I made it to the Musée Romantique today. A lot of Georges' jewelry was on display. A couple of cameos, one that I especially liked, some buttons, a lot of beautiful rings and some of her furniture.

I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash on my camera, so I couldn't take pictures inside. I'll have to go back to do that—now that I have figured it out with a little help from my friends.

I did take this one, which is of her desk. The box sitting on it was a jewelry box. Seems she wore jewelry. That's a bit of detail worth noting. I like her desk. It also has detail worth noting, and barely visible in the background is an embroidery stand. I quite liked it too. They also had one of her pens and some of her writing on display.

The house was built in 1830. I have to go back and better decipher the architecture, but I did climb the spiral staircase and it's different than the one in my building, older, steeper, much steeper. The house is built around a little open space, not exactly a square, but sort of.

There's a lane off the street that creates the approach. The minute I stepped off the street and onto the lane my skin started to tingle and I was filled with a rush of emotion, felt tears in my throat. It's a very sweet view. I don't know if I was emotional because I suddenly felt that I'd arrived in Paris (I'd seen pictures of where I now stood) or something more. It was a very strong wave. Chopin takes Tori to this lane when she's in her "dreamlike-approaching-death" world, maybe it just felt powerful and haunted. I don't know. The picture is of one of the trees that create the canopy.

I sat for a time in the garden cafe and drank coffee and wrote up notes on my visit. The gardens have been there all this time too. Very charming. There are rose bushes with rosehips now that it's fall and roses too, still in bloom on a warm sunny day.

I sat near a young woman who had brought her two little boys to the museum. They looked like they were about four and five years old. She spoke to them in French about the museum. (Even the dogs around here speak French.) I understood some of what she was telling them, explaining that Georges Sand was a writer who had two children. I didn't understand most of what she said about the children, but I did hear her mention both Chopin and Liszt. It was kind of thrilling, somehow, to see her teaching her sons about all this. I wondered who she was and what drove her interest.

I walked by Square d'Orleans, but its gates were locked and I couldn't see in. I also missed the building where Delacroix lived. Obviously, I have to go back through this area again. I intend to go back several times until it becomes familiar.

I kind of got into this picture taking thing, didn't I?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Molly,
    I am loving reading your blog though I've been quite busy and not at home, which I miss. I LOVE these pictures, especially the last one. Bless you for blogging!! Keep up the good job. Viva La, Jill