Pompidou Centre

Monique sept 2013 Paris 012The centre is a complex in the heart of Paris bordering Les Halles and the Marais.Monique sept 2013 Paris 014It houses a vast public library, the largest modern art museum in Europe and IRCAM, a facility for music and acoustic research. Named after a President of the French Republic from 1969 to 1974, Georges Pompidou, the Centre has received over 150 million visitors since it opened in 1977.Monique sept 2013 Paris 008
This is where my friend Monique lives and where I went last Sunday.Monique sept 2013 Paris 013There’s a great creperie overlooking this Stravinsky Fountain, however it’s not as good as the best creperie in Paris (in the Marais) which I wrote about in my winter posts (see January or February.)Monique sept 2013 Paris 020Below is La Maison de la Poésie and journalists talking to Canadian poet-author, Michael Ondaatje.Monique sept 2013 Paris 021The most interesting part of that literary festival last Sunday was listening to Ishmael Beah, a child soldier during the Sierra Leone civil war.  Abducted by Sierra Leonean rebels, he was forced to fight alongside them in the bush.  He wrote a book called “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”.  After his parents and two brothers were killed, he was rescued by UNICEF and eventually adopted by a Jewish woman in Brooklyn, New York.  Here’s the link to his foundation:


La maison de la Poésie

Poetry is in the air !

This morning at 7:30 a.m. I posted the Emily Dickinson poem on my blog, completely unaware that the international literary festival of poets and authors started today. This evening I rang up my friend, Monique, and asked her what she was up to this weekend.

“I’m going to the Maison de la Poésie,” she said.  The House of Poetry happens to be located directly across the road from her apartment and one of her favourite poets, Dany Laferrière, is giving a reading there this weekend.  Laferrière is a Haitian-Canadian novelist and journalist who lives and writes in Montreal.

So I got onto their website and saw that Michael Ondaatje will also be giving a reading and sharing the stage with Dany Laferrière.  As everyone knows, poet-novelist Ondaatje, who resides in my hometown of Toronto, is one of Canada’s best-loved writers. Sri Lankan-born, he won the Booker Prize for his novel The English Patient, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.  He’s also won a ton of other literary prizes and awards.

So now I’m going too!  I purchased a ticket for myself on-line.  

All this is in honour of the international literary festival taking place in Paris right now, a collaboration between New York’s Columbia University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.  World-renowned authors will meet their fans at various venues around Paris:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, John Banville, Richard Ford, David Grossman, Ma Jian, Amin Maalouf, Petros Markaris, Catherine Millet, Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Edmund White, and many others.

Festival des Écrivains du Monde: September 20-22, 2013

Take a gander at this comprehensive site below.  Did I say “gander”?  Where did that come from?



Into the beautiful

The end of summer always reminds me of a beautiful poem penned by the American poet, Emily Dickinson.  Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, she died there in 1886.  I felt the need for a poetry break this morning.  My favourite French poet is Charles Baudelaire.  At some point I’ll post a favourite poem of his, translated into English.  In the meantime, here’s Ms. Dickinson –

As imperceptibly as grief  
The summer lapsed away,  
Too imperceptible, at last,  
To seem like perfidy.  
A quietness distilled,  
As twilight long begun,  
Or Nature, spending with herself  
Sequestered afternoon.  
The dusk drew earlier in,  
The morning foreign shone,—  
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,  
As guest who would be gone.  
And thus, without a wing,  
Or service of a keel,  
Our summer made her light escape  
Into the beautiful.  


(sigh….a moment of grace in this cold brutish world).  We need more poetry breaks, don’t you agree?  

The mother of all flea markets – 2013

And, like every year, a good time was had by all. We drank beer, we ate moules-frites (mussels and fries), we bartered and haggled, chatted and laughed with strangers, and walked till we dropped. I came away with a beer glass for 50 centimes, two blouses for 2 euros each, and a colourful pareo for a euro. The giant flea market of Lille, better known as La Grande Braderie, takes place every year over the first weekend of September.  Be there next year!

Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 031Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 053Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 060Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 088Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 081Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 079I nearly bought this lamp coz I love Danish retro.Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 059Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 090Here’s the specialty of Lille – fresh mussels and fries, washed down with Belgian beer:Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 067Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 050Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 045Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 019Lille La Grande Braderie 2013 055

Bye for now. My next trip will be to Bruges, Belgium in November.