I’m in my last weeks of living in Paris.  I am trying to take it all in.

I use a cigarette analogy to title this post, appropriate for Paris, but fortunately I remain a non-smoker.  Smoke-free environments are one of the things I will look forward to in my return to Philadelphia.  Nonetheless, I am scampering around the city trying to breathe in every last bit of art, culture, food, scenery etc.

I’m not in panic mode yet, but I have moments of thinking, “is this my last…?”  Insert: walk in the Tuileries, view of Notre Dame, café crème, Louvre visit, shopping excursion, etc.  What a treat it has been to live in this beautiful city for year.

Over these final weeks I have been stocking up on exhibits around the city.  Egon Schiele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Alfonse Mucha are artists I barely knew (if at all) prior to my exhibit visit.  I am always surprised the way art helps me discover new ways of thinking.  There is so much perspective to be gained through art if one can open themselves to the artist’s experience and expression.  I have more on my running list of museums and current exhibits to visit, but time is dwindling.

Jean-Michel Basquais, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump. 1982.

Stock piling is also the correct expression to use as I shop my way through the city.  Am I thinking I will not return?  I only have so many bags and places to tuck my goodies for my voyage home.  I am not sure how my will ‘to capture Paris’ is overpowering the practical side of my ability to haul all of this home.  In any case, I have bought eyeglasses, shoes, artwork, a hardcopy(?) 2019 day planner, art books, more shoes, Christmas gifts and I am sure the list will grow.  Keep in mind, this is all in my last few weeks – again, what am I thinking?

I would really like to make one last trip to Saint Ouen – the antique markets.  I am too scared of what I would find, purchase and need to ship home.  I have declared these markets off limits for the remainder of the year.

I have managed to distract myself with walks through the city, capturing photos of Paris in the fall and holiday staging period.  Last week, I joined the American Women’s Group on a tour of the catacombs.  I also enjoyed a few days of theater and art in London.  It’s such an easy trip (and a novelty) to travel to London.  I can’t imagine having this type of accessibility again.

Luxembourg Gardens






The Catacombs





Walking in London

The truth is, the way I am coming to grips with leaving Paris is knowing that I will be back in the future.  My future experiences may not be in sabbatical form, but certainly time in this city breathes life into me.

Next week will be my final blog post for the Paris Pen – a reflection on the totality of this year…please join me then.