Taking Back the Marais!

Today was the first time in quite some time that I walked through the charming and narrow streets of the Marais. I have simply been unable to. Since I left, back in April, I have felt a force pulling me away, far away from one of Paris' most beloved neighborhoods.

The Marais provokes thoughts of Phil and all of his creepy scheming, or that time he told me in front of Breizh Café that my ass was spreading (partially true, but still), as well as his daily servings of insecurities, feeding me with ideas that I'm an underachiever with little going on in life, I'm nothing but a professional girlfriend and at least I have "that" to fall back on. Quel connard.

What other goodies? Despairing memories of my ex, MF keeping me waiting for 45 minutes at Café du Marché, all for him to tell me once again that he didn't want to be with me. Even if I did take the chambre de bonne in the Marais as a last desperate attempt to keep us together, his disregard for my time was confirmation enough that he was done with me. Good times...

Life in the 3rd arrondissement became more haunting than comforting, especially when I would hear his voice late at night from my window, laughing with his friends on rue Vieille du Temple on their way to one of the many bars and restaurants. Another reminder that he wasn't torn up about the break up. Like at all. 

The Marais is the land of MF. He knows everyone. Everyone knows him, and I've let him have his little nest in Paris in our unspoken "custody" agreement of division of property.

For such a dynamic and adored part of town, I've had some really terrible experiences there. It's a shame. But with the bad, there were also some really special moments, making me nostalgic for memories that I have collected like postcards in a box. A box filled with picnics with friends, friends who have since moved to other countries, neighborhood acquaintances whom I'd see every morning at La Perle, and merchants who have come and gone, and some who have even closed up shop in particular; MF's restaurant.

That. I wasn't expecting.

I finally built up the courage to walk down there with Out and About in Paris' Mary-Kay (after registering to vote at Shakespeare and Company!), using her positivity and sage outlook to empower me on this mini excursion. Turning the corner, I was expecting to see his mother sweeping the sidewalk with a cigarette in her hand, his brother loading boxes of fresh produce into the restaurant from his double-parked car, and MF also smoking, pulling the tables out onto the terrace, and complaining as usual. But we didn't see that. We saw a new wine shop in its place. Convenient, I must say. And from what we saw from the window, they seemed to offer a fine selection, but not at all what I was expecting to see.

I know I'm not supposed to have any feelings about this as I truly have moved on, but I felt an overwhelming urge to cry. This turn of events only solidifies the fact that that life really is over. I can not only hear the page turning but hear the book ferociously slamming shut in my face.

Having Mary-Kay there helped hold back that sadness, those tears that wanted to flood out. I had to constrain myself because come on, there's nothing worse than having to console someone you barely know about something you have no attachment to (deaths excluded, obviously). So I stopped myself from producing what would have been an awkward moment on the streets of Paris, and steered us in the opposite direction for a noisette to decompress a bit.

It's official. He really did leave the Marais. 

Which means one thing...

I can take it back!! Mwuahahahaha!

After lunching with MK at my favorite dive Le Saint Gervais, we parted ways and I officially welcomed myself back to the Marais. Weaving in and out of streets, peaking my head in galleries and boutiques, and snapping photos, felt absolutely liberating. Liberating, I tell you!

Like I said: Mwuahahahaha!

Where is he now? Who the eff knows. Probably off torturing some other girl. La pauvre. Jokes aside, I sincerely don't wish him any financial distress, and perhaps he needed to move on too. I hope he finds his niche wherever and with whomever. What I do know now is that I am now able to create new memories with new friends, or even stroll alone through one of Paris' most celebrated quartiers; the Marais. I'm free.

On this cloudy afternoon, here are some things that caught my eye....

An installation made of plastic bags.
Claire Morgan Exhibit
A La Galerie Karsten Greve

Really quick!
What is this?

If you immediately guessed 
a giant wishing flower stuffed with bumble bees...
well then you're more talented than me!

And why not?
A floating carcass in cellophane.
This was one of the best installation exhibits I've seen in a while.
If you're in the Marais, it's worth a peek!

 This store was great.
Although I was a bit overwhelmed by their collection.
The choices!


What a great name for a Kraftwerk Cover band.

 And finally my favorite moment....
I put on the provided headphones to listen to these curators 
where one quote had me scratching my head:
"The objects were dematerializing but at the same time keeping their objectivity with the idea of sight, which as of late has become problematic."

I'm sorry but what the hell does that mean?
Like I said in my last art post, I'm so not arty.
I'm too goofy.
And I try to sound cool by mumbling juxtaposition under my breath, even when it doesn't make sense.


What happened a year ago today?


  1. We walked past Shakespeare & Co today, as we were passing time waiting for our landlord to show up since we had locked ourselves out of the Apartment )-: &%#@......

    I was wondering what everyone was doing at Shakespeare & Co.; thinking that maybe it was survey after a book unveiling !!!!

    and, Congrats on taking back the Marais.

    1. Oh no, you locked yourselves out!! That's the worst!! I hope the process wasn't too painful! Oy vey!

      Yeah, Shakespeare & Co has been bustling with lots of expat/voting activity. This election is going to be HEATED and we all want our votes in!

  2. Hopefully he high-tailed his butt to the South of France with his not-so-classy-friend you mentioned a few posts back. Anyway, enough about him, congrats on feeling comfortable in your old stomping grounds.

    My very first trip to Paris I rented an apartment on Rue Francois Miron (near the St. Paul station) so I completely and totally understand your love for this neighborhood, it's a treat!

    Enjoy rediscovering your Marais!

    1. Thanks Sue! Yeah, it felt great wandering the streets with zero fear that I'd run into him. Not that just because his resto is closed that he will never come to the Marais again. But sometimes you can just feel when the energy has shifted.

      I didn't feel his vibe at all. I know, so new agey...

      I know rue François Miron very well. Nice street. When we meet, I'll tell you THAT story. Oh mon dieu!


  3. What a beautiful bitter sweet post. How it brings back memories about getting closure and moving on, after several failed relationships of my own.

    Mind you they were not in Paris. I don't know whether that would make it worse or better.

    Anyway, I am glad you can now walk the streets of the Marias with head held high, such a great part of town as your pictures show.

    Sounds like you were better off without him anyway!

    Love Denise.

    1. Thanks Denise. This was meant to be a comedic post, but I can't hide the sadness of seeing his place turned into a wine shop. It was all too real. I guess I always imagined him there. The place I met him.

      Yes, I am SO MUCH better without him. I'm reminded of that every single day. Life is good. : )

  4. "The objects were dematerializing but at the same time, keeping their objectivity with the idea of sight which as of late has become problematic."

    That, my dear, is intellectual masturbation at its best. I hate that pseudo-intellectual crap. Sounds like something that Lucien character would have written after a night of smoking and drinking ONE COCKTAIL with thin Parisian girls in some café in St-Germain-des-Prés.

    Congratulations on getting your beloved Marais back:) Everyone loves the Marais but me (it is gorgeous, but it suffocates me. Must be past-life resonance;)) Looks like you've been given yet another opportunity to make a fresh start:) Enjoy!

    1. Hahahahaha how ridiculous was that sentence?!?! So ridiculous that I really did write it down word for word in my notebook I carry around! It sounds very Lucien and his one fucking cocktail. By the way, he's still single. : )

      I'm not a Marais fanatic, I just hated that there was one neighborhood in Paris that I really couldn't go to because he was everywhere. Will I spend every weekend there? No, I'm an 11th arrondissement gal now. : )

      You can up in conversation over lunch with MK. I was telling her how excited I am to FINALLY meet you!! In December, right? : )

    2. Lucien? Single? The mind boggles.

      The 11th is really starting to happen now. I should try to spend more time there:) Is that where you finally found your new apartment?

      Yes, in December:) (And my birthdays is three days after that of MK's daughter:)) Save me the 27th if you can, that would be perfect!:)

    3. Hahahah he is living "the single man in NYC life" His quote.

      Okay, so when we meet, you know you're getting photos of EVERYONE! Lucien, MF, Seb (of course), Charles-Henri (the roommate), Phil, my mom...everyone!! A real behind the scenes look - just for you. : )

      The 27th - it's set.

  5. Well I'm glad you got to claim a really cool part of the city back, and love the art installations. Hope you got a bottle of wine in that shop to drink to new beginnings!

    1. I should stop in for a bottle of wine, shouldn't I? It didn't seem like the right thing to do at the time, but the next time I'm in the hood, I'll consider it!

      Thanks Katy!

  6. Yay! So glad you got to take the neighborhood back, even if it's bittersweet. And what amazing art galleries! I don't "get" modern art at all, but I love going to galleries and trying. I hope you have so much fun exploring your old haunts!

    1. These galleries were so much fun. And oh please, I don't understand any of it either. It's fun to just go, check it out and like you said try to get what's going on. If not, just take cool photos and make fun of yourself for not seeing the "full picture".

      Art should always be that's just my opinion!

  7. Cheers to you darling girl for getting to take the Marais back!
    Cheers to Mary Kay for being an awesome friend and walking along side of you!
    And cheers to blogs for bringing people together! x

    1. Sara Louise is back in "The Sphere"!!! YAY!!! Hopping over to the LPV to see what I've missed!!

      Mary Kay is awesome. I'm so glad I met her. Yes, cheers to blogs!

  8. I'm so glad that you can enjoy the Marais again!!!

    You make me want to hop on the TGV right now and check out the shows before the winter comes!!! That's what I did last November.. I got in the train and walked around the Marais, following your tips, and it was lovely! But, I'm hoping to have a job interview while I'm there this time..... ! OK prob won't happen...

    I know I've mentioned this before... I'm an artist and went to art school and I don't get it either- I have little patience for intellectual writing in general. I am a visual artist.. Imagery is my things not words! Ha ... Curators... that's real academic bullshitting right there. It's a skill in itself.. being able to write like that.. and the press releases that use such language. Oy vey. Unfortunately I am asked quite often to write my own press releases.. and I suck.

    I kinda' like that giant wishing flower stuffed with bumble bees... From afar at least b/c bugs aren't really ma thang! Thanks for sharing!

    Glad MF's resto closed down, what a douchebag loser mwahahahahah (ok immature-moment but had to get it out!!!).

    PS - I'm only noticing this b/c I'm in therapy and was advised to not do this and think this is good advice (my apologies in advance if this is too personal online.. just delete my post if so)... the whole "I know I'm not supposed to" thing is, well... not the healthiest way of thinking. Your emotions are there and are fine as they are. Of course you will have feelings come up, even though you have moved on from Mr. Asinine, you still went through a lot (from him & various people and situations!). Crying is good for you and the tears will come out at some point. Your body and your emotions don't lie - let it all flow out as needed without judgement or criticism or "should be's"/"supposed to be's". Xo

    1. "Glad MF's resto closed down, what a douchebag loser mwahahahahah (ok immature-moment but had to get it out!!!)."

      I don't like to wish ill on anyone (bad karma), but I must admit that the words "poetic justice" sprung to mind when I read that his place had folded...

    2. @Grenobloise - I'm so glad that you don't need a degree to "get" it. I always feel so dumb when I go to these galleries because I don't know what to look at..or what to think!

      When I say "I'm not supposed to" In a way I'm covering my ass because I have been accused of still having feels for MF. I want to make it clear that these are typical emotions, so perhaps "not supposed to" was a poor choice of words...

      @Duchess AND Grenobloise - You guys are BAD!!!!!! LOL. I take no evil pleasure in his resto being closed! Seriously! Oh ladies, gotta love ya....

    3. Yeah I know what you mean w/ covering your ass. Don't mind me for reading too much into your word usage. :P

      I also need to learn how to write less. I'm looking at your comment section and I'm like who's that chick writing ridiculously large comments and I'm like "Oh...".

      About the resto.. oh yeah.. I don't think it's wishing bad on him though.. it already happened amiright?!

    4. It's not like we're pointing and laughing Nelson style (the Simpsons;)) either... well... eh... new topic!;))

  9. What a great post. Your outtake on life continues to impress and amaze me. You don't let anything get you too down and that's an inspiration. Thank for you for this post!

    1. Hi Rachel!

      Thank you! I'm glad I'm able to inspire you!

      And no, I don't let anything get me too down, you're right. Life is too short. Yes, things sometimes hurt but will they destroy me? Never.


  10. Sounds like you have had quite hard time in Paris too, I wish you good moments now on in Marais! Bises ma belle!

    1. Oh no! What does your "too" mean? Am I missing something? Did you have a bad experience? I'm so sorry if you did.

      Based on your fantastic blog, it looks like things turned around quite nicely for you. :)

      I love when that happens!

  11. Oh, Ella! I feel like such an insensitive lout after reading this! With hindsight, I should have given you a big hug after we passed MF's restaurant and the apartment where you used to live. Somehow I just got so caught up in all of the things that you were telling me that I completely forgot about how it must have felt for you to revisit those places.

    Thanks for showing me all of your favorite spots. I hope that you don't wait too long before you return to the Marais for another visit because everyone was obviously overjoyed to see you again!

    The giant wishing flower stuffed with bumble bees is fantastic. I started to ask if you made a wish when you saw it and then I remembered that all (or most!) of your wishes have already come true.

    PS. The next time that we "Take Back" a place in Paris, let me know and I'll wear my combat boots and army jacket!

    xx Thanks for going with me to register to vote yesterday.

    1. Noooooooooooooooo! That's not why I wrote this post! I'm so sorry if it read like I was fishing for sympathy. Thanks to your presence I was able to push away any melancholy feelings.

      I really enjoyed our afternoon together. Thank you for listening to all my little stories, and thanks for being a great blog friend. :)

      MERCI MILLE FOIS!!! xo.

  12. What a beautifully written post. I'm just joining your "cray train" and am starting from Day 1! Just wanted to cheat and see what's going on today!

    Love this blog. You've got something good here!

    1. Choo choo - the cray train just pulled in! It looks like you cheated on a few posts!

      Thank you so much and welcome to chez Ella! I hope you enjoy my journey. : )

  13. I started reading your blog about a month ago, and apparently your blog has affected me so much it got into my subconscious! Last night I had a dream that I was in Paris (which I haven't been too since I was a young gal of 21), and I was stumbling around the Marais yelling that I was taking it back! I don't know if this makes me psycho or just a big fan of yours, but I thought I'd share :)

    1. Oh my! You dreamt about my blog! Well I must say that you are officially the first reader to tell me this. I'm honored, really. I must be writing something of substance!!

      Thank you so much for sharing this with me! I always love to "meet" new readers.

      I'll let you in on my secret...we share the same name. I just spell mine differently. ; )

  14. I love your last little juxtaposition you threw in there! You love that word! I bet you say it in a pseudo-intellectual voice too. You're so that kind of chick! Too funny...

    1. Hahahah it's all about juxtaposition, juxtaposition.

      I think I just like saying it and can I just say, you are so spot on, I DO say it in a deep kind of Bea Arthur tone! How'd you know!?!?

  15. Loved this post and your well-described return to the Marais. I look forward to exploring your blog further and reading about more Paris adventures. As the Aussies say, good on ya.

    Cheers from across the Pond.

    1. Hi Carolyn! Thank you and welcome!!

      The Marais has been a soft spot for me but here's to creating new memories in such a lively part of town!

      Thanks again for coming by!

  16. Nice story. Finding forgiveness is difficult and a process, and that's what you're finding now. You're better for it.

    And I saw none of these sights on my frequent lost wanderings in the Marias (the 4th or the 3rd?).

    1. Thanks Joseph, and thank you so much for your comment! It really is an honor to hear from you as I know you are a busy. busy man!

      You know, I've forgiven him long ago. I even sent him an email to bury the hatchet which he was also receptive to. We just weren't a good fit and I do with him happiness (and not in that fake cheesy way...I mean it).

      I combine the 3rd and 4th because they're so close. So some of these spots were in the 3rd, some in the 4th. A lot of these galleries were hidden in buildings with courtyards...I had to investigate a bit. : )

  17. Good thing you took back the Marais in time to see this - those pieces with the bees are wild!