Sep 102013
 
Reverse Culture Shock: Paris

“The thrill of take off: the burn of reentry.” Or it could be less of a burn: a mild irritation, perhaps. But if you’ve returned from overseas back to your place of birth after enough time to settle into a daily routine in a foreign country, chances are you’ve experienced reverse culture shock. What was […]

 Posted by at 1:01 pm
Aug 082013
 
Church Ceilings, Around the World

Grandiose, Ostentatious, Awe-inspriring, Humbling … Such is the way that religious institutions—churches, synagogues, temples, mosques—are described around the world. Their designers created physical tributes to the deities that guided many lives throughout the centuries. Even today, in an age when our attention is torn from one flashing screen to another, these monuments still stop us […]

 Posted by at 1:50 am
Jun 202013
 
French Woman Window Thingy

Sure, it’s a weird thing to obsess over. But once I noticed my first, it was impossible to stop looking for more. And I found them, all over France. This story starts in Port de Vannes market on our first weekend together in Paris. This market is a veritable orgy for the antique browser, tables […]

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
May 022013
 
The 35 Bridges of Paris in an Evening

Three shapes emerge when you look at a map of Paris: a circle, a spiral, and a horseshoe. The peripherique is the 35km circular highway that defines the boundaries of “Paris proper.” The spiral is provided by the twenty arrondissements (or “neighborhoods”) of Paris that—in an effort to disorient tourists—begin in the middle and spiral out […]

 Posted by at 12:51 am
Mar 072013
 
Cow Pies in Paris

I’ve written about the risk, and in some neighborhoods the statistical inevitability, of stepping in dog crap in Paris. I never thought I’d write about dodging fresh cow dung in the City of Light, but I also hadn’t yet heard of the Salon International de l’Agriculture. The “International Exhibition of Agriculture” is a week-long showcase of […]

 Posted by at 12:22 pm
Feb 072013
 
Paris by Night: The Two Arches

Say “Parisian Arch” and most will think of the Arc de Triomphe. For good reason, too: the “Triumphal Arch” is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. The 164 foot stone structure was commissioned in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon after he defeated the Russo-Austrian Army at the Battle of Austerlitz (and completed three decades later). […]

 Posted by at 12:33 pm
Jan 302013
 
A Birder in Paris (2012 Recap)

When my eyes met binoculars in 2012, they were likely in pursuit of the feathered occupants of Paris, from tits to creepers. My wife and I moved to the capital of France in early June and I averaged about one morning of birding every week until late November, when we traveled back home to Seattle […]

 Posted by at 10:31 pm
Jan 242013
 
Crapping on Napoleon's Head

Carved in stone or forged in metal, statues are designed to make generation of people stop, gaze upward in awe, and reflect on someone who liberated/reigned/invented/ruled/fought/decreed/conquered themselves in to a pivotal moment in the evolution of a country or culture. A statue is an eternal reminder that all who pass underneath should be forever indebted to […]

 Posted by at 9:30 am