Book Review: Les Chats de Paris

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A Paris book to give and to get, reviewed by regular contributor Betty Guernsey:

A truly wonderful find (and one of the best gifts ever!) is “Les Chats de Paris” by Barnaby Conrad III (published by Chronicle Books) – primarily a photo essay, but accompanied by a fascinating text and quotes from cat-lovers Colette, Théophile Gautier, and Charles Baudelaire.

Culled from a vintage archive that includes lesser-known works by Brassai, Robert Doisneau, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Henri Cartier-Bresson, André Kertesz, and others, each photo demands scrutiny of the closest kind, for its wit, humor, and illuminating observation of human and feline psychology.

This is a treasure to cherish, if you love Paris.  And/or cats.

Merci beaucoup, Betty!

Have you seen this book? Did you love it?

On Paris, Civility and Hope

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As I watched coverage of the shootings in Paris last week, I was deeply sad and shaken. My associations with the city are filled with beauty and love, my dear friends there, the pleasure the city brings to people, its way of looking differently at the world, its history of civility.

But what moved me equally was the outpouring of solidarity. While the immediate reaction of Parisians was of grief, their next response was to stand together: Je suis Charlie, I am Charlie. Spoken, tweeted and retweeted, erected in lights.

The call for unity — against terrorism and in support of the right to speak freely — drew people together in a series of rallies at Place de la République.

Outside Paris, more gatherings: 8,000 people marched from the gare to the hôtel de ville in Rambouillet, a town of 25,000 inhabitants.

Montreal, New York and Berlin, and many other towns and cities around the world held demonstrations as well.

I took the photo above in Paris in October. It was one of several brightly colored posters promoting peace in the 10th arrondissement. I was surprised to see it, and even more so to find others. I shouldn’t have been.

Every voice counts in this increasingly noisy world. Let us continue to stand together. Let us continue to reflect, to insist on civility, and to express our hope with words, images, and actions.

2014 Paris Travel Scholarship Awarded

What’s as much fun as going to Paris? Helping someone else get there!

In this case, it’s a high school junior from central Vermont, who will spend 4 days in a Paris home stay in April, and visit her great grandfather’s grave at the American Cemetery in Normandy.

Congratulations, Ella!

Travel changed my life (see the photo above—that’s me in the white chapeau and glasses).

I’m delighted to award this scholarship annually to an elementary, middle school or high school student participating in an educational trip, language study, or home stay in France.

Click here to learn more about this scholarship, and download a 2015 application.

 

Do you know a student who could benefit from this scholarship? Please send pass this on!

Paris Haiku—Riding the Bus

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Today another “this could have been written in Paris but wasn’t” haiku, by Australian poet Janice Bostok.

 

stationary bus
talking we visit places
within each other

 

I love taking the bus in Paris, and use the system more and more to get around the city with friends and clients. It’s a pleasure to see the neighborhoods we pass through.

My favorite lines are the 91 and the 69, the 91 because it was the first line I learned, the 69 because of its interesting, cross-city route.

Each bus begins its journey with a few minutes of quiet rumbling.

Riders get on, settle in, friends lean toward each other and talk in low voices. We focus on the world inside the bus until it begins to move.

And what a rich world it is! I’m grateful to Bostok for her sensitivity to the potential in these moments of waiting, to the trip within the trip.

She turns the image of travel inside-out in this haiku.

Where do you ride the bus?

André Kertész at Jeu de Paume

I don’t love everything I see at the Jeu de Paume, but the current expo, which traces the 70 year career of Hungarian-born photographer André Kertész, is a rich and arresting show.

Kertész changed photography with his forays into technical innovation – including early experiments with the telephoto lens and Polaroid. But his work also packs a wallop because of his personality.

A self-described sentimental and a loner, Kertész documented life in the Hungarian countryside; in Paris, where he initiated photo-journalism; and in New York, where his talents were long unrecognized. The show includes original photographs and documents, and follows his work in all three places.