At low tide you can walk all the way around the island of Le Mont Saint Michel in the sticky silt. There are tiny details, from chains & pipes to dead creatures revealed only when the sea is out.
I imagine myself laying in the waist deep grass of the normandy marshlands. it rolls out in every direction until it simply ends on the coast with the creeping high tide. the end is not the hard line the map makes it out to be, but rather it is a place where greenyellow blurs into slowly rolling grey. I watch as my boots slough mud on the trampled blades.
a love lock is a padlock which lovers attach to a bridge, gate, fence or other monument to symbolize their love. paris' pont des arts bridge is perhaps one of the most famous locations for these locks, though the practice has spread to virtually all of the 12 bridges crossing paris' seine river.
I had always thought the love lock tradition began in paris, but this is incorrect. the practice was happening earlier in asia & eastern european countries & only moved to the city of light in roughly 2008.
attaching these locks to public structures is considered vandalism in most countries & the locks are periodically removed by local governments. but you'll still find them en masse on the bridges of paris.
I can't remember the location of the market, only that we had highlighted its general vicinity on our folded map. first we found an enclosed space, like the pike place market I had visited as a child, most of its stalls shuttered for the day or for the summer vacation. disappointed, we walked around back & into a bustling square where vendors had laid out their cornucopia of wares on well worn tables.
we wander between the rows of books, knick knacks, antiques, & clothes. I buy a small silver box, tarnished to a dark grey. priced at 15 euro, but I only pay 10. past the square a street is transformed into a fruit market, bees flocking to sliced watermelon & split open pomegranate.
Brocante is colloquial french for flea market. the formal form is marché aux puces (literally "walk of fleas").
a tuesday morning strolling among the monuments to the dead in père lachaise. I have since discovered that the cemetery was opened exactly 184 years before my birth on 21 may 1804 (I come along on the same day in 1988).
the altars to the dead in père lachaise are spectacular. many topped with elaborate sculptures, stained glass windows, & miniature gothic cathedrals. this was not a place meant to be left abandoned. the dead would be expecting their survivors to stop by for a visit.
père lachaise cemetery is the largest of its kind within paris' city limits. it is the final resting place of a long list of celebrated luminaries including oscar wilde, edith piaf, marcel proust, & jim morrison. receiving more than three million visitors per year, père lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world.
I first learned of this cool sometimes island as a teenager, but never really imagined I'd find myself one day standing on the marshy shoals on the north western coast of france looking at it live & in person.
the mont is awe-inspiring to look at up close. rising out of the water like some kind of science fiction fantasy city. it's said to be the inspiration for minas tirith in the lord of the rings movies. it also has a long & fascinating weird history, including spending some time as an offshore prison.
wherever I go, I find the cats.
slightly terrifying parisian brocante market cat paraphernalia. the french are known to love their dogs, but it isn't dog figurines lining the tables of street markets in the city.
in the summer sun, people are out on the streets of paris. not just tourists, but locals who, for whatever reason, didn't leave the city for the nationwide august holidays. the markets & cafes are busy despite the heat & the otherwise empty city chatters with french, english, italian, german, & spanish.