Paris: A Pompom Romp Through Old Parigi

It was a cloudy day, and the clocks were striking thirteen, Rue des Saints-Pères (Photo by T. Brack)

It was a cloudy day, and the clocks were striking thirteen (Rue des Saints-Pères, Photo by T. Brack)

Marie France magazine, July 1951 (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

Marie France magazine, July 1951 (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

By Theadora Brack

Snapping to le point, I’ve been on the hunt for the fantastical, slip sliding all the way, up and down the wet rues of Paris. Suited with waterproof shoes, a parapluie, and sponge-like senses, I’ve been striving to capture the heady, surreal sensation of experiencing the rustling, bustling Parisian cityscape as if for the very first time.

I focused. I opened my eyes more. Seeking what Jean Cocteau called, “true realism,” I squinted and daydreamed, too. With cat-like whiskers and reflexes, I followed the poet’s recipe to a T—adding more than a heaping dash of transcendence in order to discover “surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.”

I walked new rues, rode unfamiliar bus routes, often to the end of the line, while peering through my sea foam-tinted pince-nez spectacles.

I baked 33 batches of les Chouquettes from scratch. I rescued a toy cat from a fountain. I stepped, stepped to a dope Renaissance beat. I biked. I boxed. I saw tigers and clouds in my coffee-flavored “Dieu du Ciel Pénombre” beer, after bumping into Henri Rousseau’s spirit deep in the Jardin des Plantes at the end of a rain shower.

But still, still inside me, swirling deep, was a single burning question: Is it really possible to attach too many pompoms to one’s handbag? Always one to revel in the revival of a century-old craze, I think not. And let me tell you, the proof is in the puffing. I’ve spied the little darlings everywhere in the city—dangling from everything from scarves and necklaces to Gladiator sandals.

So yes! I’ve got much to share. Stay tuned for more limonade-flavored summertime Paris stories.

Clipping from Henry Miller yet again: “One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”

I completely agree. Now, let’s roll the tape!

Snapping to le point, I’ve been on the hunt for the fantastical (République, Photo by T. Brack)

Snapping to le point, I’ve been on the hunt for the fantastical (République, Photo by T. Brack)

Suited with waterproof shoes and sponge-like senses (Porte de Vanves Flea Market, Photo by T. Brack)

Suited with waterproof shoes and sponge-like senses (Porte de Vanves Flea Market, Photo by T. Brack)

I focused. I opened my eyes more. (Place de la Madeleine, Photo by T. Brack)

I focused. I opened my eyes more. (Place de la Madeleine, Photo by T. Brack)

I squinted and daydreamed, too. (Rue de Bellechasse, Photo by T. Brack)

I squinted and daydreamed, too. (Rue de Bellechasse, Photo by T. Brack)

Peering through my sea foam-tinted pince-nez spectacles (Rue des Abbessess, Photo by T. Brack)

Peering through my sea foam-tinted pince-nez spectacles (Rue des Abbessess, Photo by T. Brack)

I walked new rues, rode unfamiliar bus routes (La Grande Roue at Place Concorde, Photo by T. Brack)

I walked new rues, rode unfamiliar bus routes (La Grande Roue at Place Concorde, Photo by T. Brack)

I stepped, stepped to a dope Renaissance beat (Rue des Abbesses, Photo by T. Brack)

I stepped, stepped to a dope Renaissance beat (Rue des Abbesses, Photo by T. Brack)

 I rescued a toy cat from a fountain. ( La Grande Roue, Place de la Concorde, Photo by T. Brack)

I rescued a toy cat from a fountain. ( La Grande Roue, Place de la Concorde, Photo by T. Brack)

I baked 33 batches of les Chouquettes from scratch. (Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Photo by T. Brack)

I baked 33 batches of les Chouquettes from scratch. (Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Photo by T. Brack)

I spotted Henri Rousseau’s spirit deep in the Jardin des Plantes at the end of a rain shower( Photo by T. Brack)

I spotted Henri Rousseau’s spirit deep in the Jardin des Plantes at the end of a rain shower( Photo by T. Brack)

But still, still inside me, swirling deep was the need to know: Is really possible to attach too many pompoms to your handbag? (Place de la Madeleine, Photo by T. Brack)

But still, still inside me, swirling deep was the need to know: Is really possible to attach too many pompoms to your handbag? (Place de la Madeleine, Photo by T. Brack)

Always one to revel in the revival of a century-old craze, I think not. (Rue de Rennes, Photo by T. Brack)

Always one to revel in the revival of a century-old craze, I think not. (Rue de Rennes, Photo by T. Brack)

The Proof is in the Puffing! (Image: T. Brack's archives)

The Proof is in the Puffing! (Image: T. Brack’s archives)

 

 

 

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74 thoughts on “Paris: A Pompom Romp Through Old Parigi

  1. Very good Theodora. You make me want to count the days, the hours, the minutes before my next flight to Paris. Pom-poms are “pompons”? Is that the return of an old fashion? 🙂
    Flea market, porte de Vanves? My brother is a “brocanteur”. He has a stand there. You may have exchanged a word or a smile… 😉
    Bonne semaine. (Stay clear of les manifs et les casseurs)
    Brian

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Brian! I spotted pompoms everywhere in Paris. Even at Porte de Vanves! So your brother is a brocanteur? That’s absolutely fabulous news. Very cool! Where is his stall located? How close to the food stand? It’s my favorite flea market. The dealers are always friendly. Not a dud in the batch! Does he also attend brocantes?

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will check the pompons soon. My brother Richard’s stand is at the very beginning. He deals in furniture. Sometimes “rustique” sometimes art-déco. (Don’t know where the food stand is) He is at one end of the the market coming straight from the metro station. When I visit, we go for lunch at “Le timbre-poste” across the Périphérique. A crazy place with vintage advertisements everywhere. And the food is good.

        Liked by 2 people

      • OH, thanks for the restaurant lead, Brian. “Le timbre-poste” looks amazing. And it’s so close to the flea market. Adding it to my list now.

        Here’s a link to the website: autimbreposte.fr

        Merci!
        T.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really laughed out loud at that burning question. I guess you’re right the proof is in the puffing. 😆

    Thanks for sharing as always. (And I am sure you noticed but yes, I have been doing a little more doodling of late.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the big giggle, Gigi!! (For the Bonjour Paris website, I recently created a nod to the Parisian feline. How are your kitties doing? As you know, I thoroughly enjoy your dispatches from the porch.)

      Enjoy the week!
      T.

      Like

    • As always, thanks for your kind words, Mélanie! Say, did you happen to spot any quirky trends in the vitrines in San Francisco?

      (Your Spanish cat is darn hep and adorable! Handsome, too.)

      T.

      Like

  3. Well now my friend if this wasn’t the best way to really see Paris again – through your “new” eyes. I didn’t blink once and saw an amazing city in your photographs. Loved the thought of pompoms everywhere – windows w/gloves and your rain shoes!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mary! Yes, I’m completely enjoying the re-launch of the pompom. I found an 19th century sales sample at the flea market. (Maybe I’ll add it to the post.) And by the way, I also recently photographed the old Paris art stores. I think Magasin Sennelier is my favorite. Ah, even their window is drool-worthy.

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Theadora, your Love and knowledge of Paris are in every single word and pictures of this post. Pictures following by captions give me the feeling of the city and my presence in it. You provoke an overwhelming desire to visit this city again. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank YOU, Alexander! Ah, I got a little teary reading your words. What a gift! Yes, you’ll have to return to the city again. I love how you capture the world with your lens and words, too. The feeling is mutual!

      Have a wonderful weekend!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paris is incurable decease, addiction. Once you’ve got it, it is staying with you forever. I hope to visit it again some day.
        Enjoy your weekend too! 🙂
        A.L.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thanks for strolling and rolling with us! (I’m still trying to perfect the puff: les Chouquettes. Perhaps it’s time to watch Julia Child’s video again!)

      Enjoy the day!
      T.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah Julia – our lives have been enriched because she inspired us to be chefs in our kitchens. I love her presentation of the “Chicken Sisters”. Thanks again for a great post and for connecting.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Brings to mind the expression from the movie Flyboys. Je vois tout! You certainly see the depth of the city. Your photos are a magical mix of light and shadows, colors and reflections. They are truly 1000 words !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your kind, kind words! And by the way, you also inspire with your prose and poetry, always. (I just watched the Flyboys trailer. Adding it to my must-see list. After all, I’m a Franco fan. James Franco.)

      Signed,
      A Fellow Film Buff

      (Have a great weekend!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fly boys was a great film, as always a little hard as war is messy business, but I love wooden and fabric aircraft, and theirs were the state of the art for their time. I’ll be writing some reflections in prose soon … All the best – Peter

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your sweet words, Rhonda! Stay tuned for more strolls! The greenhouses at the Jardin des Plantes are truly amazing-looking. And yes, I did spy the spirit of Henri Rousseau. And we had a grand time in the rainstorm. Oh, SIGH.

      Enjoy the day!
      T.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Piaf serenaded her as she boiled the water, butter, sugar and salt. Dashed in the flour. Stirred vigorously then one by one added the eight eggs. ” Kitchen magic” she thought as she piped the little darling into bite sized mounds sprinkled with pearl sugar. “Thirty minutes in the oven. Enough time to sew pom poms all over last years coat and turn it into today;s fashions”. She heard Theadora’s rain-boots sloshing up the stairs. The Tin Man’s umbrella tapping at the door. Another splendid evening in her little house in Paris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Weepy, I’m now weepy, Virginia. What a splendid description of a favorite rainy day in your little house in Paris. With the Tin Man’s parapluie is tapping, tapping on the door, to boot. Kitchen magic, indeed!

      Do you have a favorite les Chouquettes recipe?

      If so, do spill!

      Theadora

      Like

      • I do have a fav recipe for les Chouquettes. My son has requested I make them, but this time fill the little darling with flavoured whipped cream. My leanings to gilding the lily haven’t fallen far from the tree. When we had our little bistro our son made many of the French desserts. He also made our house bread fresh every day. XX Virginia

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: A trip back to Paris – filandscott

  8. Outings with you along the streets of Paris are so much fun. Thank you for braving the weather so that you could share your wonderful photos with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know! I’m now on the hunt for a tomato-colored lipstick. Long-lasting and matte, perhaps. Nars? I always carry a red lipstick in my bag. One of my grandmother’s favorite beauty tricks! Instant glamour, she’d say.

      Enjoy the evening!
      T.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What fun to take a stroll with you Theadora– you always have the unique view, wether through “new ” eyes or looking back through history in Paris– get inventive post! hugs from here…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, thanks, Rhonda! Your words always make me smile. I also got to feast on a fresh strawberry tart, while sunning on the rooftop at Galeries Lafayette. It was heaven. Heaven, I tell you. (Have you made les Chouquettes?)

      Enjoy the week!
      Theadora

      Like

      • Hi Theadora– I’ve heard about the lovely rooftop cafe on the Galeries Lafayette (from your blog perhaps??) Putting it on my list!! — and I’ve made cream puffs and the version with added cheeses. Is that the same as les Chouquettes?? I need a lot more initiation into French cooking!! One reason I always love your detailed intriguing posts!! Happy summer in Paris! xox from here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cheese! Wonderful suggestion, Rhonda! (And yes! Do add the rooftops at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to your list. B.H.V. also now has a perch with a view.)

        Enjoy the weekend!
        T.

        Like

    • Thanks, Richard. I agree. There’s so much to see and smell. Experience and absorb! It’s easy to spend the entire day, photographing, from sunrise to sunset. (I’d love to see your Paris street photographs and portraits.)

      Fingers are crossed!
      T.

      Like

    • And I feel the same way about your photographs! And YES. You do have sponge-like senses. It’s true! (Thanks for your kind words!)

      Enjoy the day!
      Theadora

      Like

    • As always, thanks for your kind words! (By the way, I really enjoyed seeing your recent Alice in Wonderland works! And the opening event also looked like great fun.)

      Your work always makes me smile!
      Theadora

      Like

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