Saturday, February 26, 2011

morning musings and afternoon inspiration

The clock tower strikes once, twice, elven times, and the midmorning rain picks back up. There is such beauty in the dreariness. The wetness brings out the green, gives it this lush feel. Though the rain discourages all sorts of plans I had made in my cozy bed before looking out the window, one rainy day is a nice change. A cleanse. Its refreshing. And rain or shine – an adventure will be had.

from my journal this morning as i sat just taking in the sounds and smells of the morning storm. and i must say that i think the inspiration of today started in that last line. even though the rain was coming down, it cleared up in just enough time to allow some quality adventures.

today really was full of all kinds of inspiration. emily and i set off for the city with a few simple plans in mind, we wanted to find where my grandpa lived while here on his mission many years ago, we wanted to find le cordon bleu where the one and only Julia Child attended culinary school here in france, and we wanted to go grocery shopping so we could conjure up a quality french meal for dinner tonight. we had no idea how much more would be in store for us. this moring as we were leaving we passed by another girl who boards here named therese. she told us that she was going to this giant old cemetery, something de passey.., and that she would bring us back a map so we could go. we said thanks and au revoir and the idea left our minds. inspiration one:coming up from the victor hugo metro stop on line 2 (where we were planning on finding the old mission home) we had a run in with your typical street flower-salesman. he was selling these precious little bouquets of daffodils. see below.
though i had no need for a bouquet, and really didn't want to be carrying one around all day i felt like i should buy one. so i did. i am a sucker for flowers. i justified it by saying that the man probably desperately needed my two euros, and emily assured me that they would last and make a pretty arrangement in my little vesinet room. so we continued on and in fact did find the very place that my dear grandpa told me to look for.
and there we found the old mission home, where he spent many of his days! i was walking down the very street that he walked on so many years ago. how neat. after a couple pictures with the old building that is now the embassy (ambassady? empire?) of some foreign country, we pressed on to find le cordon bleu!
inspiration two: we decided to search for a different metro stop to take us to line 12 and when we finally happened upon one i realized it was line 9 and we would have to stop at trocadero to change to the 6. i remembered someone telling me there was something worth seeing at the stop so considering we had all the time in the world, i convinced emily to stop with me and see what was up. as we looked at the plan of the quartier, i noticed a certain cemitiere de passy, and it sounded oddly familiar. we decided to check it out, and realized that it must be the one therese had told us about this very morning.
it was amazing. it was the most eclectic cemetery i have ever been in, such a contrast from the stark perfection and organization of Normandy, this was a humble jumble of every different type of ornate and simple grave stone, tomb, or even little house. old and new alike all mixed in together - some perfectly kept and beautifully decorated, others falling into decay and covered with moss. it was so peaceful and emily and i wandered about looking at names and dates and wondering who was lucky enough to rest here. we found a map, and realized that such people as edouard manet and claude debussy and the like were 'burried' here! inspiration one came into play. i now had a beautiful bouquet of flowers to leave for one of my favorite french composers. though it took us forever to find his tomb, it was well worth the search. what a neat thing just to happen upon. and we made some friends who were also searching for debussy. i left my little bouquet and it looked just perfect.

after that little side excursion that ended up being way more than we could have ever hoped for it was time to find le cordon bleu. we found our way back to the metro after a quick stop at another eiffel tower angle and headed onward. though we walked a little ways in the wrong direction, le cordon bleu was easy enough to find. there it was in all its glory. emily was so excited and i was pretty pumped too. there we were standing in front of the very place where julia child learned to cook. holy cow. we took a few pictures and emily was good to go, but then inspiration three came into play and i decided we should go in. though there wasn't really a public door i just waltzed on in with emily right behind and ended up in a sort of office area. one women abruptly said sorry you can't be here and the other said 'ohh no no no, where are you girls from' and proceeded to tell us to just look around and do whatever we wanted. we looked at a few amazing chocolate sculptures and then she offered to give us a tour. so emily and i got a tour of the world renowned culinary school. we walked into the kitchens where some of the most famous chefs teach and got to explore the demonstration rooms and classrooms. it was so neat. we found out you can actually sign up to come in for a day to learn some french cooking skills. we might splurge and do it. i was so glad i went with my impression and just walked on in.

we came out of le cordon bleu beaming and just so excited about our adventures of the day. it couldn't have been any better. just across from the metro stop was a little carrefour so we stopped to get our groceries done. we came home and because julia child had definitely inspired us emily and i made a tartiflette for dinner. it is a special french potato dish and it turned out perfectly, probably because we listened to debussy the entire time. really! we even invited nannick to dine with us and she told us it was perfect! she had never had a homemade tartiflette before and she was impressed. it was so fun to actually make something from scratch and we plan on doing it more often. next time we'll conjure up some french dessert i think. it really was an adventurous day. the morning rain couldn't keep us from having some fun. literally right when we walked back in the door at home the rain started pouring again, perfect timing. coincidence? i think not.

pretty flowers
color obsession
my grandpa's street
the very door of the old mission home!
wonder if it still looks the same!
detour to see some cute french kitties
cemetiere de Passy
i couldn't get over all the old names. and the view of the tour eiffel!
cemetery door
standing in the midst of all the graves
flowers for debussy
they fit quite nicely.
one last shot,
looming skies
the ultimate adventurers
you can't have enough pictures with the eiffel tower, right?
sometimes the metro music gets up close and personal. this accordian player was literally that close to me. the all denim was a nice touch.
le cordon bleu! a gorgeous sugar sculpture, emily with the julia child shrine, the official logo, and me standing in front of the julia child kitchen
metro hands
we came out of the station back in le ves to this little peak of blue skies
nothing like walking home, baguette in tow

p.s. a very special surprise coming your way tomorrow, i mean it is my dear mallory's birthday,
it is going to be good.
and a little happy birthday shout-out today to cute cute shelby. here's to 20!


  1. What an incredible day full of inspiration! Isn't it fulfilling to follow those feelings and see what happens. I loved seeing you in front of Grandpa's mission home. Did he happen to tell you that his parents, Great Grandpa and Grandma Hart, also lived there when he was a mission president. That is where they lived when I was born! Great Grandpa Hart also loved Debussy. His favorite was Claire de lune. Many times I sat at the piano and played it for him. Too bad I wasn't playing it for you and Emily while you were making your delish tartiflette. Then I could have had a taste. Thank you for not skipping out on the daffodils. They were meant to be! I love you! You are beautiful - in front of the Eiffel Tower or walking down the street with a baguette!

  2. Love you. I'm guessing that I'm shelby.... because well, I'm 20. You're french birthday sign on facebook trumped all the rest.

  3. my dad lived most of his original mission to paris in the mission home on rue de lota! how awesome you found it! i can't wait to tell my mom and dad about this post :) lovin your frenchy fantastic adventures mads!! thank you for the pics you took of the yummies from pauls... i saw either here or on your fb page. love. enojy the city i love! xoxoox

  4. Madsy dear, you just cannot imagine the flood of wonderful memories that filled my head when I saw you in front of 3 rue de Lota--my place of residence for about a year of my first mission to France. You were an absolute angel to take the time to go find it. Merci beaucoup! When you look at the second floor and to the right of the entrance you see two windows with shutters. The first was the mission office and the second was the mission president's office. I spent much time in the first office in 1958 and he spent most of his time in the second office from 1961-1964. Indeed, you were walking in my footsteps and in my father's and mother's footsteps. How we each loved France and Paris and 3 rue de Lota. Your mom stole my thunder when she mentioned our love for Debussy's "Claire de Lune". Ca va. This was a wonderful post and a great story of trusting in inspiration and going with it. Thanks for the nice visit on Skype on Saturday last. It was wonderful. And so nice to meet Emily. Avec tout notre amour. Grampa and Gramdma Hart

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  6. Dear Madsy, I wanted to add this experience that I had last Saturday after attending a session in the SL Temple. I walked to the lobby of the Joseph Smith Building and as I entered I heard the delightful duet of a pianist and flutist. I paused to see what they might play was "Claire de Lune" by Debussy. Following their lovely rendition I talked to them, thanked them for their music and then told them about your visit to Debussy's tomb in a Paris cemetery. They were touched about the flowers that you left and asked if they might visit your blog site. I gave them permission and told them to look on the February 26th entry to see Debussy's buriel site and tombstone. Debi was so pleased and thinks you are a talented writer and photographer. I thought this was a cool experience and one that I would like to share with you. Bonne continuation. I love you. Grandpa Hart