“Beauty makes me hopeless. I don’t care why anymore I just want to get away. When I look at the city of Paris I long to wrap my legs around it. When I watch you dancing there is a heartless immensity like a sailor in a dead-calm sea. Desires as round as peaches bloom in me all night, I no longer gather what falls.” Anne Carson from Plainwater: Essays and Poetry.
Here’s a short travel journal from my recent trip to Paris. I’ve been holding off on this post until I found the right words. I never did, instead softness. A softness which allows me to write without limitation, without doubt, without fear, of the words that never come. To drift with them, in lightness, and hope against falling. Writing is like that. It’s never the words but the non-words behind each broken sentence that expose the soul. To live with such softness isn’t without threat of the knife. I hope to do my best in the telling of my time this winter.
Paris for me was all dawn. I saw it best in the early hours. There’s something about fading into the cold, of losing oneself to the streets still shrouded in the night before, that I love. The call of silent cathedrals, fogged windows and flutter of birdwing, sates a place so deeply lodged within my unknown. I like to be out when first light meets last dark. The engulfment, a fleeting hypnosis that’s very telling of life itself. I found myself consumed before it. Some mornings were so dark it felt as if the sun would never rise. Others were so light it was as if both sky and below could merge into one.
I found myself returning to places I know well. Familiar haunts, with some new finds thrown between. I have another post with more comprehensive recommendations from last summer here. The list hasn’t changed all that much. Liberté, Du Pain et des Idées, Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse and Yann Couvreur are my sweet essentials. I ate often at Rose Bakery, Wild & the Moon and Septime (La Cave). New favourites from this trip are Biglove, Echo and Sucre Glace. I didn’t eat out as much as I usually would though. It could’ve been the winter weather. I was more attracted to cooking in my apartment with produce sourced the morning of. Pink radishes, delicate pea shoots, rose-hued radicchio and heirloom roots were what I loved best. Lots of good butter, fromage blanc and fleur de sel too. My suitcase burst with bags of aromatics, spices and salts on the trip home. That’s my favourite thing about travelling - bringing part of a place home with you and reflecting it on the plate.
A final note on the photos. I shot this trip with an old film camera rather than my usual equipment. I sent the film out to be processed a few weeks ago. I think it was stale but I’m eager to see how it turned out. Most of these photos are from my phone. They’re not perfect, be gentle with them.