People In Paris

6/24/2013 Monday 6:36 am

It was amazing to see all the incredible landmarks, works of art and pinnacles of architecture and engineering on our trip to London and Paris.  But for me, the times that I truly felt the most connected abroad, and that I was experiencing these incredible cities at the utmost, were when I got to visit with friends and family.  In London, we met new people like the Beatle Brain, and cousin Laura introduced us to her friends Susan, Isobel, Mikaela, and Zsolt.  And I had the great joy of reconnecting with my college buddy Justin Yoo, and my good friends Xuefei Yang and Neil Muir.

In Paris, we’ve already mentioned our wonderful visit with Glenda’s Uncle Dinh, Aunt Vivienne, and cousin Vincent as well as our incredible class with chef Frederick Dillon Corneck.  But we had other warm and grounding visits that connected us with Paris in deep and powerful ways.

We took the metro up near the famous Paris cemetery Pere Lachaise to meet Glenda’s cousin Catherine and her thoughtful and incredibly smart daughter July for dinner.  We had a delicious vegetarian Vietnamese meal at a restaurant Catherine found, and a wonderful conversation there.  (Glenda adds: Catherine is an artist, and her works may be found here.)


1 Catherine and July


It’s fun to see dogs in restaurants in Paris.  I mean… right up in there!  Once in the while in the US you’ll see dogs in certain parts of certain restaurants–usually outside–but it seems in Paris that there’s a different set of rules regarding canines and cuisine!


2 July Dog


Dad and Vicky took us to Montmartre one day to meet with their dear friends Nancy and Francois. Francois has had this apartment in Montmartre for 50 years!  Nancy and Vicky went to school together, off and on, since the first grade!!!  It was phenomenal to see them together.  Francois is a photographer with photos that have been in major magazines and newspapers, and he and Nancy have been all over the world… like, really, all over the world!  (Glenda adds: they had just returned from Vietnam, and were about to head to their second home in Provence.)


3 Francois & Nancy


Occasionally in Paris you’ll come across 100-year-old florid Art Nouveau iron-work decorative elements—like this one that surrounds the Montmartre metro entrance.


4 Francois Art Nouveau


Montmartre is like the San Francisco of Paris!  The small streets have steep grades, often stairs, and always-incredible views.  It’s no wonder this was such an inspiring and fertile place for some of the greatest artists ever.


5 Francois Steps


And speaking of the greatest artists ever… here’s the last remaining wall of the Bateau Lavoir where so many actually lived right around 1900.  Folks like Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, and Guillaime Apollinaire lived and worked here.  And this is where Picasso painted his super-famous Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.


6 Francois Bateau


And at the “heart” of Montmartre is Sacre Coeur.  Stunning.


7 Francois Sacre Cour


Equally stunning is the view of the city from the front steps.


8 Francois View


The group was headed for raclette for dinner, but I must mention that I snuck off to the Moulin Rouge to meet my dear friend and phenomenal guitarist and teacher, Judicael Perroy.  I’ve got no pics of Judicael and I, but we had a wonderful visit together walking around the streets of Montmartre and stopping to enjoy a Pastis (anise liqueur).  I first met Judicael in 1999 when he came to Austin as part of his Guitar Foundation of America winner’s tour, and our next rendezvous will be in Austin next April when we bring him back again!  You can watch Judicael play Bach here.  Get ready for beautiful!

OK.  This is cool.  My awesome student Celeste, her mom Lou and her dad Bruce, just happened to be traveling in Paris at the same time we were.  So our family and their family all got together for a dinner cruise on the Seine!  Here’s the whole crew!


9 Celeste


The dinner and conversation were just wonderful, and so were the views.  We found this in London, too–there’s something really special about seeing these great cities from the water.  One of my favorite views was this one, of Paris’ Statue of Liberty (they’ve got one too, of course!) set against the Eiffel Tower!


10 Celeste View


Glenda, as you may have figured out, has quite a bit of extended family in France.  We had a terrific lunch at Fumoir with her second cousin Solivan and we talked about their relatives who live in France, the US, Cambodia and Tahiti. (Glenda adds: Solivan is quite conversant in English, and was able to kindly answer Matthew’s grammar and vocabulary questions about French.)


11 Solivan


And I got to connect with another great guitarist and dear friend on our last night in Paris!  Jeremy Jouve is a fabulous guy, a phenomenal musician, and he rides around Paris on this super-cool motorcycle!


12 Jeremy Bike


Jeremy introduced us to his lovely fiancée Elsa.  We had a tremendous visit and talked about guitar (of course), Paris, and all the goings-on in each other’s lives.  (I went for another Pastis!) (Glenda adds: I did too!).  Here’s Jeremy playing a piece called Cavalcade by Mathias Duplessy: watching this you’ll probably get an idea of how he rides the motorcylcle!


13 Jeremy


Glenda had heard about the view, and the nightly party, at Trocadero.  So that’s where we met Jeremy and Elsa.  As usual Glenda’s Spidey sense led us to a groovy hot spot and it was from Trocadero that we saw, perhaps, the most amazing view of our entire Europe trip.


14 Jeremy Trocadero View

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