warm and cool (in Paris 13)

(little) sunday, the 15th of April 2013

today there was sun.  for the first time in months, the air was warm, the sky clear, and Froggy and i decided to go for a long walk.  during my pregnancy, i developed symphis pubis dysfunction, and walking (one of my favorite things in the world) became excruciating.  so instead, i sat in our comfortable ikea chair and propped up my sausage-like feet and spent the last part of my pregnancy practically inert.  Froggy joined me, and for months we watched entire series and every single Barça game that was played.  after little sun died, going outside and walking meant entering a vast and endless minefield of pregnant bellies and little blond babies.  every encounter held the possibility for a tears or even sobs, and it felt safer to just stay home, next to one another on the couch, with our furbabies and some beautiful football.

my visits to the shrink and the trip to Brighton had gotten me walking again, though, and over the last month or so i’ve spent hours upon hours navigating little Parisian neighborhoods on my own….i became a solitary walker,  each of my steps jiggling loose a bit of the darkness that’s been clogging my brain.  today Froggy decided that it was time to join me.

we’d considered going down to la Tour Eiffel and walking along the Seine nearby, but it would have been a bit of a trek to get there, and on a glorious spring day like today, the area would have been seething with tourists.  we’re not much for crowds these days, so we decided, instead to walk to la Bibliotèque nationale, the National Library, which stands next to the Seine on the edge of the 13th arrondissement.

the weather was perfect, warm and almost blindingly bright, and our promenade took us through a visual wonderland.

we wandered through a new park and took in the architecture:

(and occasionally the people, too)



and then we came to the area near les Frigos (which translates to “the refrigerators”), a huge old building that used to serve as “refrigerated station” on the railway.  apparently, in the first part of the 20th century trainloads of Algerian wines used to arrive directly in the building in refrigerated boxcars.  nowadays, it is a haven for artists, and as you get closer to building, you begin to see signs that you are entering an enchanted area.

and then we were there:

and there were some creepy mofos surveying the place

don't fuck with les frigos

don’t fuck with les frigos

Froggy and i wandered around outside the building with our cameras raised to our eyes for at least thirty minutes.  there was just so much to see.

there was even a peaceful little garden where several artists were working or hanging out drinking café

everytime I pass by the place, i find myself longing to be a part of the creative energy going on inside (and outside in the garden, too!)  i miss the company of other artists, the conversation, the mutual inspiration….i wish i knew how to find that here.

afterwards, we walked down to the Seine, but it was suffocatingly crowded with other Parisians trying to catch the sun, so we mounted the wooden stairs to where the four towers of the library stand, spread far a part but facing each other.  Froggy tells me that those buildings are meant to represent open books, and i can see that.  the place must be an absolute eden for academics.   it’s huge, huge enough that we were mostly able to skirt the strollers and just focus on the views.

and tonight Barça won 3-0 with their B team.

today was a good day.

and, oh i had to share this drawing i found which i think bears an uncanny resemblance to my wife. what do you think?

portrait of Froggy


3 thoughts on “warm and cool (in Paris 13)

  1. Sadie

    I love this post! First, I love all your photos. We seem to have a similar aesthetic, because I am always drawn to these kinds of forgotten details in a cityscape, and I have a minor obsession with graffitti. Although I am not an artist (at least not in any conventional sense), I know what you mean about longing for that sense of community to inspire the creative juices. For me it’s been the major down-side of relocating so often to far flung places; although it can be exciting, just when I feel I am establishing a network, we are on to the next place. And yes, it’s hard when you’re in a country that’s not your own, speaking a language that’s not your own.

    But mostly I love that you and Froggy had some hours of pleasure and peace yesterday. It was warm and sunny (finally!) here too. Especially at the beginning, it takes a lot of guts to face all those indifferent masses, those obliviously pregnant bellies, and to be defiantly happy in the face of it. I hope that days like this will be more frequent for you very soon. I’m sure little sun is happy too! Sending you warmth and strength

  2. Suzanne

    Kudos to your efforts to get out there and move your body through the grief, and I’m glad to hear that it lifts with your outings. I hope there were moments of clarity for you both on this beautiful day. And thanks for the pictures! They are amazing and they make me want to travel!!

  3. Pingback: little lights | following my sun

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