Curiosity vs. Boredom
Dorothy Parker and her sharp wit are well known, but here’s a quote I hadn’t heard before. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” This explains one of the main reasons for my travels. I have an unquenchable urge to see and experience new things, whether tapas and flamenco in Spain, old cars in Havana, tilework in Portugal, wine and tango in Argentina, festivals in Bali, or bicycle culture in Belgium and the Netherlands.
This curiosity also led me to pick up a book about Parisian women – their clothes, demographics and shopping habits by neighborhood. The fact that Paris is one of my favorite places on the planet helped, and I had needed a break from a surfeit of mystery novels. I loved reading about fashion and food by arrondissement, learning where the French versions of yuppies, preppies and hippies could be found. Entertaining as it was, the biggest revelation was that I’d wrongly considered myself a Marais girl.
That neighborhood is where we usually stay. It’s funky, central and relatively affordable, with some of the oldest architecture in the city, multiple museums and independent shops. However, I don’t wear vintage hi-tops or ride a Vespa, so apparently nobody would mistake me for a native (even before I try to speak.) As it turns out, I’m apparently a Montmartre girl, based on my fondness for brightly colored clothing with unusual structure, particularly coats. LOL
Considering this, I remembered my favorite metro stop is the art nouveau Abbesse, on Montmartre (best seen from the street; it is the deepest station, and climbing its 144 stairs once was enough!) The neighborhood did, of course, contain favored haunts of famous artists like Picasso and Toulouse Lautrec. I’ve also had wonderful experiences there, like ducking into a macaron shop to avoid an impromptu parade coming down the hill right at me. Another time we were surprised to find a food festival up top at Sacre Coeur, where we became addicted to aligot, a comforting concoction of mashed potato, cheese and garlic. Finally, I realized most of my paintings of Paris feature Montmartre, this one being the latest.