the other day I came across this beautiful Paris story & photograph …
Posted in my heart wanders, paris April 30th, 2012 by pia

instagram photo by sweet Caroline

“My little reader… I first saw this park on a page of Pia Jane Bijkerk’s, My Heart Wanders. The pink flowers, the book benches… I showed it to Clara and we dreamt of finding it, like a secret garden. With a little help from google and my bike riding parisian super boyfriend, we found it… And at the most perfect time, when there were still flowers on the trees, and petals on the ground like pink snow. “oh Maman, c’est le jardin du beau livre!”….”

“oh mom, it is the garden in that beautiful book!”

Finding this little story and image made my heart soar. Thank you sweet Caroline & Clara.

xx

PS Caroline has a fabulous blog with incredible images, one to add to your regular reading for sure.

 

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Posted in artists, handmade, paris January 26th, 2011 by pia

This morning I woke up to find this magical creation in my inbox,  created by the ever-inspiring Nathalie Lete. With it she wrote…

je vous envoie mon petit magicien pour faire de 2011 une année (du lapin) magique!!
(i send you my little magician to make  you a magic year(of the rabbit)! !)

Love it. Thank you for being such an inspiration dear Nathalie, here’s hoping for a magical year for everyone.

xx

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Posted in paris, pia's photos August 19th, 2010 by pia


So what else was I going to tell you about on this last trip? Oh yes, my experience of making the book for Aunty Joyce. Well, it wasn’t so much a “book” as maybe a “zine”, or a “visual diary”. I didn’t get the idea to make it until I was in Paris so unfortunately I didn’t have any of my crafting tools with me except a signing pen. I thought BHV would be the place to get everything I needed, including some quick print outs of photos to stick in the book, but unfortunately they didn’t have anything that I needed- the notebooks were all of the ‘back to school’ variety (I wanted something a little french, or at least that had some french words on the cover), and the “instant” photo machine was actually a 3 day turnaround. So Romain and I looked for a copy shop, or a photo lab around the area but each time we found one it was either closed or, as one proprietor used the excuse “we’ve run out of photo paper for the machine”. indeed. So, our final trial was fnac, and low and behold, they had a real instant photo machine! So I put my usb stick in and printed out 10 photos that I randomly chose earlier that morning, all with key elements from Joyce’s time thus far in paris, and some family snaps of us all together etc. That is when we discovered the instant machine had a postcard option which we thought was pretty cool. The notebook I found at Merci, as well as the japanese tape. Oh and the paris stamps I bought at Melodies Graphiques.

So, if you come up with the same spontaneous idea of creating a notebook of your adventures in Paris, then know that you can go to fnac in les halles to fulfill your instant photo needs. You could also stop in one of the metros and take some photo booth photos of yourself for good measure. Romain and I attempted this late one night but he accidentally broke the machine by pressing too often on the buttons.  If you happen to be in the pont neuf metro and want to take photo booth photos, I’m here to tell you it is probably still broken. oops.

Here are some photos of the wonderful window display at emmanuelle wittmann’s atelier, how lovely that she put le book in her window among her beautiful creations. Merci Emmanuelle!

And one last thing, I want to tell you about a great cafe Romain and I stopped in for lunch in the Canal St Martin area. It’s called “L’Atmosphere”. It was one of those places again that I’d often walked past but had never been in and it was really good – the service was great, the food delicious, and at the end we ordered a ‘café gourmand’ and a ‘thé gourmand’ for me, and it was lovely- lots of little desserts including a mini creme brulee, along with a pot of tea. miam.

Therefore if you happen to be in the Canal St. Martin area (10th arrondisment) on ‘wander 6′ (pg113) in Paris: Made by Hand, then check out L’Atmosphere. The address is: 49 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris and they are open every day of the week. Sydney-based photographer Jillian Leiboff just got back from Paris and wrote a great post with beautiful images about her wander of the area, visiting some of the ateliers and shops  from the book, check out her post here. Thank you Jillian!

Before we got on the train to head back to Amsterdam, I spotted this piece of advice/street art on the pavement crossing a bridge, heading toward the gare du nord…

In English it is something like “forever cursed is the useless dreamer…”. And I thought how fitting this sentence was for my time in paris on this particular occasion, although I’m not exactly sure how to interpret this sentence, I’d love to know your thoughts on it…

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Posted in paris, pia's photos August 17th, 2010 by pia

One of the things that I’d been wanting to do for some time  is visit the Opera Garnier. It is such a wonderful old building in Paris (one of many) and I’ve been intrigued by it every time I’ve walked passed, so on this trip back to Paris I thought it about time we go and take a look. It is rather magnificent indeed, and after about 15 minutes of strolling around and viewing all the different rooms, I was starting to feel slightly self-conscious and uncomfortable being there in my cut off jean shorts and birkenstocks. Not for the sake of the other tourists visiting, but for the walls, and floors, and gilded mirrors and chandeliers. It just didn’t seem right to be in this incredible, opulent space as a tourist in the year 2010. Sacrilege was the word that came to mind, and if the walls could talk I would have been apologising to them the entire length of my visit.  What was it like to walk up the stairs in a flowing gown at the turn of the last century? I wondered.

My favourite space though was the library museum, where there are rows of set dioramas for various performances held within the Opera Garnier over the years. They were so completely inspiring, I was mesmerized by the detail and creativity in each scale model…

It is an amazing building,  I won’t say much more as I always like people to discover their own magic when visiting these places, but I recommend a visit there if you are in Paris… just be sure to wear something a little more genteel than I did, you will feel better for it…

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Posted in paris, personal, pia's photos August 13th, 2010 by pia

So the last two nights in Paris with Aunty Joyce were all about “the tower”. On the third night together we’d planned a boat cruise on the Seine so that we could see it up close and personal, waterside. Romain and I did some serious reconnaissance of the area surrounding the Bateaux Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf in the afternoon. It was not possible to get the stairs down from the Henri IV statue on the Pont Neuf with a wheelchair but we found out it was possible to come down a road closer to the Palais de Justice and then walk along the Seine and into the entrance of the Vedettes. However, as fate would have it, the skies opened up just at the time we were all to meet at the statue. It was quite the storm and it sent our plans into a spin. We decided to take shelter in Place Dauphine, just opposite the Henri IV statue, in a tiny Basque restaurant. We had only intended to have an apéro, hoping that the rain would ease. But the rain didn’t seem to be easing and although we had the only available table outside under the awning, getting splashed every now and then by the rain, we thought it best to stay put for the time being and have dinner  –  and we are so glad we did.  All the staff were very accomodating and the food was fabulous. For entree Romain and I shared a camembert chaud cuit au vin blanc which was so incredibly delicious, it was the perfect dish to ease the wet weather blues. For the main I chose a Basque dish called Piquillos à la Luzienne which was stuffed small red peppers with brandade and tomato -miam miam. But then I tried Aunty Joyce’s dish which was rissotto aux deux jambons and seriously, it was utter perfection. And then the desserts! oh la la – the panna cotta was the knock out although all the desserts we chose were really, really good. Here is a little peek at the menu board, although you probably can’t read it since the writing is quite small, you can hopefully get a bit of the ambiance of the night…

With the rain continuing to fall, and the food at ma salle à manger being so delicious, we decided that it really wasn’t the night to be out on a boat on the Seine. So we postponed the boat trip for the next evening, and just relaxed a while at the restaurant…

Just before we headed home I wanted to show Aunty Joyce the eiffel tower from the pont neuf. Luckily the rain had subsided for a moment and we were able to settle in one of the little nooks on the bridge and see the tower in all its glory. I didn’t tell Aunty Joyce about the sparkles we were about to see, I just wanted her to see them for herself. And then, right on cue at 11pm, the tower lit up like a twinkling diamond, Joyce was ecstatic and could not get over how beautiful it looked. She described it as a dancing lady, dancing for Paris…

What a way to end the day! It was at that point that Joyce really knew her dream was well and truly a reality – there was now no denying she was in Paris, standing on the Pont Neuf, seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time in her life. There were some tears of joy shed, followed by some quiet moments of reflection, followed by laughter and smiles. It was a magical moment.

The sun came back out the next day, and our plan to take the boat cruise that evening was all a-go.

me and joyce, walking along the Seine.

We took the cobblestoned road that leads down along the Seine toward the boat mooring rather slowly. It was a bumpy ride, but it was perfect timing as the sun was setting and the breathtaking scenery took our minds off the cobblestones, check out the view we had…

Wow! It was a glorious sunset, it could not have been more perfect. When we hopped on the boat, the sun began to dip further and as we cruised along the Seine the sky went from pink, to deep blue, to black…

This was the first time Romain and I had ever taken one of these cruises and again, it was something we’d been curious about for some time.  The cruise itself wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for – everyone on the boat was quite loud, and the student commentator who spoke in English and French was doing a great job except that we couldn’t hear her over all the people talking. It would have been better to sit downstairs in the front where there was no one else, and then we could have just taken in the scenery. One thing I did really like about the boat ride though was going under all the bridges. I had no idea that each bridge was built so uniquely  – I was fascinated with the exposed architecture underneath each bridge – there were bridges made from brick,  stone,  wood, and iron and although I knew this from walking along them all so many times, I loved seeing underneath each one. From that angle they were just as beautiful if not more so, than the ornate architectural features above. I wasn’t able to take any photos of the underneath because it was too dark, but that just means you will have to take a boat ride in Paris so you can see for yourself! Which is no doubt the favoured option really…

And that concluded our time in Paris together. It was a really big effort for Joyce to make it to this amazing city from across the other side of the world, after so many years of wanting, and wishing, she made it, and I am so very proud of her. In the book I made for her, I wrote a fun little message for her that went a little something like this…

…I left lots of pages so that she could add more photos and mementos, and I suggested that she could ask new friends and people they meet along the way to write a little something in the book. In the next post I will tell you more about ‘the making of’ the book, and also share some of the things that Romain and I explored this time ’round in Paris – it just goes to show you that no matter how long you’ve lived in the city of lights, or how many times you’ve visited, there are always layers to unravel.

This post concludes my “joyce in paris” series, I hope you’ve enjoyed this special series of posts. How wonderful it is to me to now know that Aunty Joyce will no longer be saying “I wish one day I could travel to Paris”. Instead she can say, “been there, done THAT” at the ripe young age of 90.

xx

This one’s for you, joyce.

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