Purcell festival in Paris, that’s Henry Purcell

From September 25th to October 13th, the Louis-Jouvet Theater in central Paris is staging a Purcell festival. I have tickets for early October.

Henry Purcell, born and died in London (1659-1695), is considered one of England’s greatest composers. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music.

First performed in London in 1691, The Cold Song is an extract from Purcell’s semi-opera, King Arthur. Its beauty and vocal difficulty is such that it’s often taken over by German virtuoso singers. A particularly famous version is the one performed here by the late Klaus Nomi.



Here’s the sublime Funeral for Queen Mary, written specially to be played at the funeral of Queen Mary II of England in March 1695. Eight months later, Purcell’s Thou knowest, Lord was performed at his own funeral in November of the same year.



Love, love, love my Reeboks!

In my June 2017 post entitled “the King’s Road, shopping and strolling – London“, I was raving about my new CLOUDRIDE DMX 2.0 walking shoes. Like all tourists, travellers and walkers, I know the importance of a truly excellent walking shoe. (When vacationing in a big city I usually walk 8 to 9 hours a day.)

I also walk a lot here in Paris, because I don’t own a car.

And so, wishing to buy a second pair I was crushed to learn that the CLOUDRIDE DMX 2.0 is discontinued in Europe.

So I waited, and now my patience has paid off. I’ve just bought their new model called the Reebok™ Cloudride LS DMX. For urban walkers, I totally recommend this shoe.

Reebok rules!





French cemetaries

Today is 27°C, very dry, dusty and hot with an elevated and unhealthy pollution index. I’m sick of pollution – air, noise, water, food. I want to retire to the high plains of New Mexico and live under an endless, unpolluted, cobalt-blue sky. I want to smell the piñon and live in clean space and silence.

I’ve only been to New Mexico twice, but loved it intensely both times. On both trips I arrived by train – the first on the Amtrak Southwest Chief that originated in NYC and passed through Chicago (I was on that train for two and a half days. Crossing Kansas we saw coyotes.) The second trip was on the overnight from Los Angeles. I can’t wait to go again.

These photos are not of Santa Fe, but of a Parisian cemetary –

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In my neighborhood there are several parks as well as the Seine river which flows past the foot of my street. But I’ve recently discovered a new refuge in which to sit and read or write: the municipal cemetary. At the end of an alley and past a trio of chubby cherubs is a bench where I can sit in complete silence. And solitude! I was the only person there the other day. That is, me and a thousand souls. However, it became SO HOT I had to leave. Some people might find it odd to sit in a cemetary, but I find it peaceful. Here’s the bench below, under a tree whose name I do not know. (I’ve been meaning to buy a tree book for 15 years now.)

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French cemetaries, with their sepulchrals, numbered alleys, and family burial vaults, are not at all like English or North American ones. They are far more ornate, well-tended, regimented, and sacrosanct. 

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I’ve just learned that the famous Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky, master of abstract expressionism is buried here. I had no idea. I’ll have to go back and find his plot.



part two – flea market 2018


Such beautiful paperweights. I searched all over for the ones with jellyfish inside, but didn’t see them this year.

A little girl sitting in the sun reading Asterix. I couldn’t resist taking this photo.


My 6-year old dining companion and I had Sunday lunch at our favorite restaurant. He wanted only fries (with lots of ketchup). I had an enormous Welsh Rarebit, fries and a glass of wine. The food at the L’Hermitage Gantois hotel is top notch.


The hotel used to be a hospice, and the original chapel still exists. We visited the inside courtyard which, compared to the crowds outside, was a haven of peace.



Back outside, the flea market was in full swing. French telephones from the 1980s and 1990s had an extra receiver that sat in a cradle at the back of the phone. Its purpose was to allow a second person to listen in on the conversation.








And that’s it for this year, folks. Back to Paris on the Sunday evening train. It takes exactly one hour.



flea market 2018 – part one

The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all. Here are some photos:




Machine guns and bagpipes. The CRS cop on the right is cradling a machine gun against his chest. CRS cops are best known for crowd and riot control (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité).






These are called poêle en faïence which means a ceramic stove. These two come from Alsace and the Vosges. One is early 20th century, the other is late 19th century. Coal or wood fed, I think they’re magnificent.


Someone’s medal of valor ends up in a flea market. Sad. I wonder who the person was, and what act of bravery he committed.


The dog was not for sale.




more photos to come later … thanks for stopping by!