Archive for April, 2010

Only In France…

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

After five hours of traveling we capped off our 95 minute sprint through Mt. St. Michel with a cone of crispy Chu-Chis, deep fried twigs of dough that are then doused in a dramatic downpour of sugar. Like a funnel cake, but tough and crunchier.

We were held up by Mean Mickey at the Porte de Vanves flea market. It’s a drastic makeover, but he wears armed & insane surprisingly well.

Flower-buddy spices at the Galleries Lafayette über-market.

I assumed the golden nose on this $1400 McClown lamp was its on switch, but, sadly, the joke was on me.

France is the land of 10,000 carousels. We saw many, rode one, and photographed most of them.

Down in Nice there was a strong Italian influence and so we strolled around the city with gelatto cones twice a day. At our favorite shop, if you ordered two flavors, they didn’t just plop one down on the other, snow-man style, but created radial little blossoms of creamy coolness.

Whenever I’m in a foreign land, I like to hunt down grocery market finds by brands we have back at home of specific products which we do not. I even sacrificed precious room in my suitcase to pack in a big box of Kellogg’s Tresor cereal.

The daffy door leading to the unisex restrooms at Colette.

As you can see, France isn’t all fussy refinement. It can flash a little crass and whole lot of sass.

France on Film

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Looking back at my mad dash around France through the lazy lense of my Lomo LC-A film camera.

Glowing stone figures in the gardens of Versailles. It was so bright and brilliant it nearly burned my eyes:

Stepping up out of the subway system to spot the older (but not oldest) of the three eras of the Metro Stop signs made moving through the city even more movie-like:

A tiny drop of ornate greatness in the giant ocean of ornate awesome-nesss that was Le Train Blue restaurant. (Much more on that later.)

My first glimpse at the delightful Deyrolle taxidermy shop, and the first photo I took in France:

(Me and) my shirt sleeves annoyingly un-cuffed inside a Parisian Palace:

We traveled by train down to the coast into Nice for two days. It wasn’t any warmer there, but the palm trees seduced you and your bare arms into feeling otherwise:

A fizzy fountain back in the capital. Five seconds later, it full on splashed me as I ran away in an un-classy spaz:

The Road Home

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I had suspected that once I visited France I would never want to leave. Nine days into my visit, it seemed as though I truly never would…

My trip began with a frenzied flurry of cathedrals and cafes, croissants and charm. Every day was a rigorously scheduled stampede past Paris’s prettiest or pleasingly grittiest spaces and places.

Striving to slot in not only the iconic museums and monuments of history but the long and lovely list of Treasury reader recommendations of shops and stylish sites as well, there were few moments in my first days in France that felt fully experienced. Fully felt.

A silvery gold brunch at Ladurée with baskets of baked bliss and pitchers of milkshake-thick hot chocolate was one of the few itinerary items I didn’t just check swiftly off of my list, but actually absorbed languidly with all my senses and my entire soul.

For anyone who carts at least three cameras to any vacation destination, it can be a tricky challenge to not simply photograph the glory of your getaway, but actually FEEL it too. I have to get better at this.

As the trip was just about to end, an ashy disaster in Iceland erupted, shutting down all European air traffic and trapping us on the far side of the ocean. Unsure of whether we would return home to Minnesota in mere days via plane, or not for three months via a sluggish U.S. Army sea vessel, we washed our clothes, mildly panicked, at a Parisian laundromat. (And accidentally laundered 10 Euros worth of Ladurée chocolate into them, to make matters worse.)

Our pressurized yet picture-perfect vacation had slammed on the breaks at last and we were forced to slow down, set the cameras aside, and look at the city not as time-strapped tourists but as lazy (temporary) locals.

For six extra and almost-agonizing days…

It may sound like I’m whining, because I totally am, but let me explain.

Of course there are way worse things than to be stranded in Paris. The city of lights is lovely, for sure – but nothing is lovelier than home. And when you can’t get there, and a volcano that last erupted for two whole years is standing in your way of ever returning, Paris transforms from the culture capital it normally is. It becomes, unfortunately, a cute but confining cage.

I’m just so very glad to be home again. I missed it, and you. I’ll share more stories and snapshots in the days ahead that showcase and celebrate France and all its non-cage-like best!

Unpublished

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

One of my very first Treasury posts seemed like a boy-blog exclusive, and I sure was excited about it. I had randomly discovered that the first J.D. Salinger book in decades was to be published in January of 2009. A novella originally published in a 1965 edition of The New Yorker, it was titled Hapworth 16, 1924.

But that January shivered on silently and Hapworth never materialized.

The New Yorker has just released a new essay by the publisher Salinger had been personally working with to release his book since way back in 1988.

The image below is the spare and strange sample cover that Salinger had approved for his book before the arrangement fell to pouty little pieces.

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My brain likes to roam around, for much longer, in what almost was, than in what actually is.

In Bloom

Monday, April 5th, 2010

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A mixed bouquet of images to celebrate Spring.

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It’s not my favorite of the seasons…

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…to me it usually feels like Things Ending, rather than Things Beginning.

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But this year I’m feeling unusually excited and optimistic…

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and I’m planning little plots to keep everything rolling.

Light and Dark

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The green-stemmed pair are bright and friendly.

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But we should all know by now I like my frames dark and delinquent-like.

CM_NightTurbo_black at ALter

Cheap, thirty-five buck frames by Cheap Monday at Alter.