Fula Paxinos, one of our members and a Past President of the Society, is currently on sabbatical in Paris! Enjoy her letter – there are others coming south from la belle France.
Dear Family and friends
So here I am on my much anticipated visit to Paris. The flight was loooong and cramped but it was great spending time with my friend schoolfriend Joan at Heathrow. When I went through security to board my flight for Paris, the security bells rang merrily. The officer ran the paddle up and down my bod several times and then patted me from top to bottom and sideways. Not satisfied, and despite me telling her that I have a new hip, she repeated the whole procedure with the paddles and then another massage, never mind patting me. Not unpleasant, but I wonder what she does at her night job. Then the security guy unpacked and searched my on-board luggage, quel embarrasment, and confiscated my little bortle of wine- the bliksem.
Eventually Paris at last.
My studio is large and light and has an alcove for my bed and a minute kitchen and a bathroom and storeroom. BUT, no computer, no T.V. no sewing machine, no telephone, no fax machine, NO SPARKY NO FRIENDS. What was I thinking? 2 months!!!!!!
Anyway, on my first night there was a concert in the theatre in the building. The pianist was excelltent but the singer not.
The Cite has a theatre complete with stage in which the music residents can perform.
First day- The other South African (who speaks perfect French) and I braved the Metro, my training in the subways of NY will come in handy. The stations are big and airy, white tiled and decorated with posters, display cases with replicas of museum pieces at Louvre Station, very surprising. Especially the bigger stations which are like huge rabbit warrens, how on earth did they engineer such a system? Chatelet is a large junction, never mind buskers, their was a 12 piece orchestra playing underground. My destination was Cligniancourt,, a massive flea market which also featured beautiful antiques, art and the biggest and most specialized, antique and modern, haberdashery store I have ever seen. No, I did not even buy a single button. Hows that for self control?
Sat. night- Paris celebtated “Blanche Nuite” – Sound and Light installations at many locations all over Paris. I walked (a 10 minute walk) across the bridge to Notre Dame Cathedral to see the installation there. Large groups of glowing crystals in each of the side chapels in the cathedral. Stunning and quite unusual and so modern in such a splendid Gothic Church.
One of the bridges to the island also had an installation of large square transparent boxes piled on top of each other changing colour and Tv screens screening strange light patterns to even stranger music. And there was a full moon!
First Sunday of the month is free at the Louvre so I and every other tourist were there.Vast halls jam packed with paintings, and people. I had to hand my camera to a youngster who must have been at least 6’6″ tall to take a picture of the Mona Lisa for me. Many of the paintings were massive- imagine a room full of 40 foot paintings. (my feet- size 5, do the maths. No I did not have my tape measure with me) Although I marvelled at the talent of the artists I have to say that I eventually couldn’t look at any more crucifictions, dying grey men, anguished women and battle scenes. It will take at least a week to see everything at the Louvre.
Had to get my hands on a computer but Mon Dieu! the computer at the Cite does not have a qwerty kepboard. C’est impossible!
Alice, the 3rd S.A. artist has her grandson with her and he let me use his laptop.
Next episode soon.
Lots of love