It's suddenly November, and my mind turns, not to the upcoming American holiday, but to pleasant memories of Paris. It's a city I've had the good fortune to visit many times (and where I lived briefly as a child). Paris can be enchanting any month of the year, but my favorite time to visit is November. Flights are cheap, interesting accommodations are affordable, and most of the tourists have gone home. It's cold (one forgets that Paris is a truly northern city, lying at a latitude above Montréal), and dampness seeps up from the Seine. But that lets me wrap myself in the scarves I never get to wear in Virginia, grab my camera, and start walking. My mother was a native Parisienne, and I always marveled at her ability to walk the cobblestoned sidewalks with determined speed, even in fashionable high heels. At home in the States, Maman lived a sedentary life, but bring her to Paris and she suddenly became a race walker. My siblings and I still laugh when we remember her transformation (and our attempts to keep up with her). I'm sure she would consider my style of walking (and dressing) more suited to the countryside, but I can spend entire days wandering and looking, my camera poised to capture just the right light on a gilded statue, or a spectacular cloud floating above the roof of the Louvre. During recent visits, I started noticing the Plane tree leaves crunching underfoot, their marvelous shapes and colors standing out against the textures of sidewalk and street, and my Paris Leaves series was launched. Now when I visit, I have to remind myself to look up every once in a while and keep moving. I don't want to miss any of the other wonders!
A selection of Paris Leaves is currently on display at Unwined, a gem of a wine store in the Belle View Center, Alexandria. Stop in during one of their regular wine tastings, and you can sip while viewing the prints. It's almost like being in Paris in November!