Tuesday, January 4, 2011

" I Slept Last Night In A Good Hotel . . . "

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While strolling in the Belleville area in the 20th section of Paris the other day with James, we found this well weathered sofa in the rue du Liban. I couldn't resist doing a couple of portraits of it. It looked rather lived in, actually, as though it's owner had just stepped across the street to get a cup of coffee, and would be back any minute to finish reading the paper.
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And I also couldn't resist asking James to do a portrait of me in that illustrious sofa, courageously facing its future life as an outcast on the streets of Paris . . . so this next photo was done by James, he very kindly sent me a copy recently. You can even see him reflected in the window; I guess this post will have to be a candidate for the next Weekend Reflections session.
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As mentioned in the below post, la Grenouille and I had the good fortune to go see the unbelievably good Monet exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris the other day. This sign showed the way to the entrance.
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As we waited in line to get in to see the show, a gentleman was playing the clarinet outside, in the below zero temperature. The cold didn't seem to affect him though, his playing was a pleasure to hear. I couldn't help thinking of one of my favorite songs, which follows at the end here, where there is a line that goes : "He was playing real good for free..."
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The first line of the song is :
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"I slept last night in a good hotel, I went shopping today for jewels..."
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Very close to the Grand Palais stands one of the finer hotels in Paris, the Hotel de Crillon. Although it is extremely unlikely that I will ever sleep there, I liked the reflection of the holiday decoration lights in the black roof of the Mercedes parked in front. Taken by a simple passerby, who is out here in the street, playing this blog... for free. Guess I'll spend the night on my sofa, rue du Liban, instead. More my style anyway.
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54 comments:

Lena said...

Joni Mitchell is one of my all time favourite composers... Thank you for posting the song, Owen!

You made me miss Paris with this post... I haven't been there in ages...

Warmest hugs!

Owen said...

Hi Lena,
You get the early bird award for this first post of the new year...

First prize is one of the cushions from the sofa ?

An echo from the clarinet notes off the wall of the Grand Palais ?

An all expense paid trip to Paris with lodgings at the Crillon ? (well, we're allowed to dream still, right ?)

Thanks so much, in any case, and yes, Joni was way out there in a sort of mythical realm, she was good beyond belief.

Happy 2011 to you !

James said...

I'm listening to the song right now and I like the way you tie together your photos and music. It really adds another dimension to the experience. Have you ever been experienced? Well I have. :) That sure is a fancy hotel and I love the reflections.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Like the reflection, Paris, and that you and James formed a brotherly bond. The sofa, not so much. All I can think about is cooties.

Happy New Year. Or Bonne année nouvelle. I hope.

Steve said...

That sofa has plainly seen a lot of action speculating about which might lead a man into trouble...

Laurie said...

Ah, Joy! Great pics, great words and . . . Joni Mitchell, too. Bliss!

Lorrene said...

I love your blog. I'll never see Paris or France so I really enjoy all the photos. The couch cracked my up. How funny.

Stickup Artist said...

There is something about a piece of furniture being where it is not supposed to be. You and James certainly had fun and you are a good sport. I have to say the Hotel de Crillon looks pretty awesome. Gorgeous night shot. Sure wish I could have been there for the Monet show. That poster looks so perfect in the garden, like an extension of it. I hear the beat of a vibrant city in these images. Thank you for this unique tour!

Elisa said...

Hi! Well it seems very nice sofa you found :) I have seen this ones cousin here by the river, but I think that there is too cold now to go just sitting on it. Maybe I should go there and take some photos too, but only when it is warmer here. Have a nice week ;)

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Un divan rue du Liban.... Bien vu!!!!!

Et superbes reflets nocturnes!!!

Bravo Owen.

Mimi said...

That sofa is hilarious, great idea to photograph it for the blog!
And I love the reflection of the lights in the Merc.
You've got some seriously diferent and great photos here.

Owen said...

Hey James,
I guess you could hear me typing away again about that October day, eh ? Thanks so much for the sofa photo !!!

And yes, of course, experienced, it's all an experience, right ?
:-)

Be well, and keep your eyes open for experiences, they can happen any time...
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Oakland,
You are so right, there was an entire colony of cooties in that thing... right after I got up in fact, they came back out from hiding under the cushions, about four thousand of them, picked up the sofa, and ran off down the street with it !
:-)

All best to you in 2011, a cootie-free year...

Owen said...

Steve, Steve, heaven help us, heaven forbid we begin to speculate about what may have transpired on that down-at the heels sofa with sprung springs and a broken back ! What forces of love may have played themselves out there... what amorous stories may have stained its upholstery...

What really worries me, however, is the history of dire flatulence of the human race, which may have also played a major role in the gradual destruction of this once handsome piece of furniture ! It looks like it may well have received a few bunker buster direct hits at short range...

Ok, maybe we better not speculate after all about the history of this poor sofa, we probably really don't want to know !
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Laurie,
May the bliss be with you !
:-)

Owen said...

Dear Lorrene,
At least you can enjoy some vicarious visits to Paris, even if travelling in person is not an option... There are some other good blogs about Paris, if you look in my list of blogs in the sidebar for Peter's Paris, he does a beautiful blog full of great stories about Paris, and also there is Invisible Paris, by Adam, which is also an excellent source of little known information about Paris.

Very best wishes to you...

Owen said...

Dearest Stickup,
One never knows what one might find when strolling the streets of Paris, but abandoned furniture and appliances often capture my attention, for the incongruity of their often forlorn situations, cast out from their former homes, onto the cold streets. The least I can do is try to show them at least a moment of compassion and care, center of attention in front of the camera, before they go on to meet their fates at the hands of the trash collectors. Ah, Paris is not all glamour and lights, there are a lot of very mundane details to be seen by anyone looking... including broke-back sofas like this one...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey Elisa,
Can only imagine that all the lost sofas eventually end up down by a river somewhere, just sitting and watching the river flow... although I guess where you are they may be covered in frost, or have some icicles dangling from them, or even buried under a few feet of snow, with just the faintest suggestion of a sofa form, mounds in the white expanse ?

Hope to see some photos soon of your sofa !
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Chrys,
Un divan splendide n'est-ce pas, pour les plus exigeantes de divas qui pourraient passer dans les rues de Paris, même au rue du Liban...

Merci bcp, ce n'est pas donné à tout le monde de reconnaître le caractère exceptionnel de certains meubles abandonnés à leur sort dans la rue...

En espèrant que toutes tes canapés soient plus confortables quand même...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Mimi,
Many many thanks for dropping by, and if you enjoyed the photos, so much the better...
:-)

A very happy new year to you !!!

Olga said...

Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing...
Thank you for for the photo of the hotel and the sofa. You make ever-changing world stand still.

T. Becque said...

You were a brave man for sitting on that sofa! :) It's well past it's day, but I do like the architecture and colors all around the sofa, and it's interesting to see a sofa sitting on a Paris street, not the typical image one has of Paris.

babbler said...

Dear Owen,
You are blogging so goooood, for freeeee..... What a fantastic little slug vacation I had just now! Because of your generosity I got to slide around France, lounge on a couch and see my mantle reflected in the holiday decor of a Hotel that I will be staying at in my dreams this evening! Isn't it interesting that when a video of music is viewed, the singer reaches your heart just like you are there. Music is so timeless, and so elastic - I was moved by the entire presentation, I stand up on the tip of my tail and applaud your latest masterpiece of blogging excellence! Bravo my fellow slug, Bravo!!!! (roar of a crowd of applauding slugs in Oregon) Happy New Year to you too, may you slide with increased slime and prosperity, and may you always find a suitable couch to rest upon when you need it most! :) Thanks for visiting Slug's Rest! You are a truly special mollusk.
Love, Mrs. Slug, and Mr. Slug says Hi too! (..from his classroom at school where he has been doing complicated computations to improve the water quality of slugs worldwide)

babbler said...

Hey Owen, I just spent a few extra minutes listening to a bunch videos of Joni songs I have never heard before! One of the videos was when she was still Joni Anderson. I ended my little mini concert with "In France they kiss on Main Street," it was a live version and very enjoyable. Thanks again for being my evening DJ! You Rock!

...louciao... said...

Sorry I'm so late but you wouldn't believe what happened to me. After that ride on the ferris wheel, I returned to my budget-saver's B&B on the rue du Liban, caught up with the latest atrocities in the newspaper, pulled out the sofa bed, and climbed in. Next thing I knew, room service was folding the thing up--with me still in it--and carting the whole kit (sofabed) and kaboodle (moi!) out onto the street. Then, just as I was struggling to climb out of it, some guy thought a streetside sofa was a great photo op and parked his bony bottom thereon. I was almost suffocating and my cries for help, along with the curses I was conjuring against that man and his plumbing, went unheard. Finally, he left and I managed to extricate myself to stagger next door and fortify myself with a pizza sandwich. Apparently, the sofa had been infested with fleas so the hôtelier chucked it. The little biters didn't bother me, though, because les puces françaises don't like Canadian blood--but that poor guy that sat there must surely have carted a bagful of fleas back to his cats (from what I saw of him as he galumphed off down the rue, he definitely seemed the sort who would have cats). He also had the strangest voice...rather like a croak with a Franco-American twang to it. Bizarre. Only in Paris!

The Pliers said...

My favorite image is the portrait of you yourself seated on the expat couch!

The Sagittarian said...

Well that's certainly nicer to sit on than the bidet I saw on the streets of Calais! Hopefully the old couch won't have been used for that purpose but I guess you never know.....

Wonderful picture of the lights reflected in the Merc.

Springman said...

"Why would anyone throw out a perfectly good couch?"

Sigmund Freud
1856-1939

ρομπερτ said...

A few weeks later it seems to have arrive over here, as I found another man sitting in it.
(Picture soon.)

Impressive how you manage to melt these different things into a song. Chapeau !

Please have a good Thursday.

Owen said...

Hi Olga, you are very welcome, funny, as much as I try to make the world stand still in front of the camera, I just find my head spinning... hopefully it won't spin right off and go down the street like a top...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey T.,
Brave ? Maybe, or perhaps just extremely stupid... I'm not always known for my profound good sense, but sometimes in life one must take some risks, even if it means sitting on a sofa of totally unknow origins...

I took a hot bath when I got home and burned my clothes though...
;-)

mythopolis said...

I think I saw that same couch in the Hotel California!

le journal de prada said...

wow!! i really like it!!
the post is amazing!!
love the photos with the couch!!
hahahaha very funny!!

your follower
http://lejournaldeprada.blogspot.com

Dee Newman said...

Life is absurd! Connecting with mates like you makes it meaningful and worth living.

Owen said...

Dear Mrs Slug,
I'm so happy you had a good time leaving glittering trails around lots of Joni tracks on the web... I know you're very tied up in slug knots keeping good Mr Slug in top form for his studies, so I'm doubly pleased whenever I see a shiny brilliant silver trail leading in and out of the comment window here, I know right away who has dropped in for a quick nibble on the fresh iceberg lettuce I always leave out on the counter for you slugs...
:-)
Happy sliding right on into 2011...

Owen said...

Oh my goodness, Lynne ! What an adventure you had !!!

Couldn't help hopping from the kit and kaboodle right over to here :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XHDe0JVmNY

So yeah, watch out for your kit and kaboodle, oh, and you might want to get the dosage on that medication checked, if you keep having all these visions... and if it's not the medication, maybe check where your chopped mushrooms are coming from more carefully...
:-)

Actually, just after the last photo was taken, the sofa spontaneous combusted in bright white flames which consumed it rapidly, and left nary a trace on the street and walls around it. Happily you were no doubt having pizza next door when that happened. It could have been a spark from the pizza ovens...
;-)

Owen said...

Hey Pliers,
Glad ya liked it... I'm not sure I'd recommend it as one of the finer attractions in Paris, but then, one can't only take pictures of the Eiffel Tower...

Gosh, it's gone from minus 8 to +14° in less than a week... go figure...

Owen said...

Hey Saj, hopefully you saved a picture or two of your Calais bidet in the avenue photos, and of people using it for its intended purpose ?

See answer to Steve above, I have major doubts about the past history of that sofa, but hey, you only live once...

Owen said...

Dear Springman,
Now that is a damn good question... after running that thing through a carwash I'm sure it could be restored to good as new condition. Or at least placed in the monkey house of a zoo to give the baboons a place to nap...

No, the things we throw out, just appalling, our throw away society...

Owen said...

Robert ?! What ? It's in Athens now ??? Well hell, will wonders never cease !!!
:-)

Owen said...

Mythmania, I'm sure you saw all sorts of things in the Hotel California !!!

Owen said...

Dear Prada,
Many thanks, glad you got a laugh or two, I'm sure the sofa is looking down from sofa heaven now with a big grin knowing how famous it is now ! Almost as famous as Susan Boyle or Ted Williams !

Thanks for stopping by...
:-)

Owen said...

Hi Dee, can't agree more... connections in unexpected ways and places are the magic fabric of life... wear it well...

James said...

There is no place to add a comment to your Van Gough post so I'm adding here.
Your photos are beautiful especially the close up of the headstone. That was one of many places that I wanted to visit but couldn't becase of lack of time. It was great to see your pictures.

Lulu Sorcière said...

Owen bonne année pour toi et les tiens !! Que les jours, les mois qui viennent apportent du bonheur et de la douceur dans ta maison ! Et pour ce p'tit espace de liberté, encore des billets insolites pour tester mes progrès en anglais sans l'aide de Google !
Il faudrait installer des canapés devant l'expo Monet ! Quand je pense que dans ma jeunesse, je m'asseyais des heures devant les nymphéas, toute seule à bouquiner et pas un parigot pour venir regarder ça....
De mes années parisiennes, je garde un très joli petit fauteuil et un petit confiturier abandonnés sur un trottoir que j'avais adoptés et qui ne m'ont jamais quittée !
Bises.

nathalie in avignon said...

The Susan Boyle of sofas, eh?
We'll each have our 15 mns of fame...
Lynn's story was a perfect match for your photos, I had a blast. Thanks to you both!

Roxana said...

heeeeeeeee

:-)
:-)
:-)

(i would have loved to photograph you on that bench!!!!!!!!!)

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Ah, the brave things we will do for art's sake! So glad that you and James had a good visit... I assume that you are still in good health after your couch adventure? Great post, Owen!

Bisous,
Genie

Lily Hydrangea said...

I think I see Jame's reflection in the picture of you.

Shirley said...

Thank you for the journey. I enjoyed all your photos and commentary. The hotel is superb all lit up as it is. Hoping you enjoy a wonderful weekend wherever your travels take you.

Pastelle said...

Jolie histoire, belles illustrations.
Je continue à sourire en venant ici.
D'abord je lis la note en anglais pour avoir l'impression de comprendre cette langue, je me sens super forte, et ensuite je mets la traduction automatique pour le fun.
La traduction "A propos de moi" en particulier ce que tu dis des commentaires est un poème dont je ne me lasse pas. J'espère que tu les as lus. D'ailleurs c'est grâce à ça que j'ai osé en laisser un la première fois.
Et puis savais tu que la traduction automatique de "Photos sans cible" est "Cible sans photos" ?
Sourire, sourires...

Amanda said...

how nice to discover this beautiful blog, as well as another joni mitchell lover~

Sylvie de said...

Great to see you back in Lebanon enjoying this nice sofa which looks really like what we can see here in LB when they are not burning tires. But I don't see the narguile which is mandatory next to such a sofa !...

Sylvie de said...

Great to see you back in Lebanon, enjoying a nice sofa which looks very much like what we can find here (in LB). However I am wondering where is the narguile ?... it is absolutely mandatory in such situation... La Belle's