Parisian holiday, part one

Posted in Paris, Photography, Travel at 22:25

Tricyrtis formosana - toad lily

Like a typical salaried Frenchperson, every year I have about 7 weeks of vacation days to spend. Fridays here and there, a couple of weeks at Christmas, two or three weeks in July or August. This year, rather than return to my place in Nice for holidays, I stayed in Paris. I’ve lived in France for nearly 20 years now, and there were still quite a few things I hadn’t done; places I hadn’t seen. When you visit from the opposite side of the planet, you have to make clear choices, knowing there are places you’ll miss. I had seen all the main Parisian museums, climbed the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe, looked over Paris from Montmartre, read the headstones in famous cemeteries, been inside cathedrals, studied skeletons in the catacombs, shopped the Champs-Elysées, walked Versailles… and yet there was still more to see and do!

The nicest part about living here is that you can do things at a more relaxed pace. No dashing around the métro corridors – instead you can flâner dans les rues, wander the streets as you like. The city takes on a different character: no longer are places like Châtelet and Notre-Dame just names and sights imbued with the experiences of others. They become part of a living whole and inextricably tied to specific, personal memories and experiences.

One of my first trips was to the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, where I played with sine waves and fractals, then visited the wonderful geodesic dome called La Géode.

La Géode, panorama

On Monday I strolled La Coulée Verte, a garden atop le viaduc des arts near the Gare de Lyon. It also extends past the viaduct for several kilometers. For a shorter, pleasant round trip, walk the gardens one way, then come back via the lovely shops along le viaduc.

La Coulée Verte  Beautiful views from above the streets on La Coulée Verte

Then on Tuesday I explored the wonderful Jardin des plantes, where I’d hoped to also see the greenhouses, but the museum and grandes serres (greenhouses) are closed on Tuesdays. As it turned out, I was more than happy to look at the wide variety of plants. The gardens are large and diverse.

Solanum jasminoides - Morelle faux jasmin  Ipomoea lobata

Bee on lily

June patio garden

Posted in Gardening at 13:45

Spider nestling in succulent

Entering my fifth year in this apartment, there has been a lot of trial and error discovering which plants are happy to grow on my patio and which aren’t. Facing north, I get a good deal of indirect sunlight, and Nice has a Mediterranean climate, which translates to a lot of humidity, hot summers, and mild winters. Regular shade plants get a bit overwhelmed by the muggy heat, while plants native to the area don’t get enough direct sunlight. Succulents like the one above are quite happy, however, and they have been my steadfast garden companions for years now.

This spring I bought some Asian lily bulbs, since they like tropical sorts of weather and indirect sunlight, and just over a week ago, I decided to risk a storebought orchid, as the plants also do well in this type of climate. My first lily – I planted three bulbs, each has buds now – finally bloomed yesterday, and I’m tickled pink with how beautiful my patio is already. To think, several more blossoms will be coming soon!

Asian Lily


Panther preparing to pounce

Lily and orchid

Petite visite du marché des fleurs

Posted in La France, Nice at 15:23

I shot this little video today while visiting Cours Saleya. It goes quickly because as soon as you stop, the nearest seller will ask you what you’re looking for.

Summer has arrived

Posted in Gardening, Nice at 20:06

Clover flower opening

After three months of on and off rain, which is not at all normal for Nice (usually the late spring-early summer rains only last about a month), the sun has finally started to heat up the city.

As I’d hoped, the technician was able to coax my refrigerator back into behaving this morning. There was oil blocking the coolant from circulating properly; he didn’t really know why, though it could be simply because it’s new. I hadn’t turned it on right after delivery (you’re supposed to let it sit for a few hours, but in any case I had no electricity), so something else must have caused a hiccup.

My clover plant is very much into flowering now. The blossoms don’t stay open all the time — I’ve noticed they open in the morning, then close for a few hours and reopen in the early afternoon, but only briefly. There’s also a picture with a furry clover leaf (kitty likes to browse my plants) and a photo of lavender flowers.