Author Archives: Parisian Fields

About Parisian Fields

Parisian Fields is the blog of two Toronto writers who love Paris. When we can't be there, we can write about it. We're interested in everything from its history and architecture to its graffiti and street furniture. We welcome comments, suggestions, corrections, and musings from all readers.

Twenty questions

A happy Saint-Sylvestre to you all! A few of you may wonder what that means, but in France, New Year’s Eve is often called by the name of the saint whose day falls on December 31. That fact got us … Continue reading

Posted in Paris churches, Paris history, Paris popular culture, Paris postcards, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Cloches et clochers

On April 15 of this year, as Paris remained in lockdown, one of Notre Dame’s bells rang out to mark a year since the fire that largely destroyed the cathedral’s interior. The bell’s name was Emmanuel, and a grainy still … Continue reading

Posted in Paris churches, Paris history, Paris music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Péniche

A November day some years ago. We are dawdling by the Seine when we spot a barge filled with coal being pushed up the Seine. Two days later, we are exploring the Parc André Citroën. As we cross over to … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Seine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Entresol

Thinking about the chambres de bonne last month reminded me of another distinctive space found in many older Paris buildings – the entresol. It, too, provided a space where servants might sleep, unless it was being used for storage or … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Chambre de bonne

When I was a student in Paris, I lived in a chambre de bonne (maid’s room) at the top of a building on the corner of the rue du Ranelagh and the rue Raynouard in the 16th arrondissement. My room … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Rooftops

One of our favourite TV programs, Dix Pour Cent/Call My Agent,* opens with the following image, taken either from the roof of the Louvre or from a drone. It is never on screen for more than a few seconds, and … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture, Paris history, Paris hospitals, Paris shops, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

A view of the pandemic (so far) in five masks

To readers: please be advised that this blog contains no Paris content whatsoever. We will return to our regularly scheduled comments on Paris next month. Mid-March: homemade. The lockdown catches us by surprise. On Monday we are in the library, … Continue reading

Posted in Toronto | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Far from the Madding Crowd

Recently, the Financial Times posed the question: “Is now the right time to escape to the country?” The article contrasted “packed, polluted and pandemic-ridden cities” with the “space, greenery and lower prices” of the countryside. Now that people can leave … Continue reading

Posted in Burgundy | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Places of healing

As businesses and institutions in France begin to open up, cautiously, I find myself trying to imagine life in the city right now. Those thoughts start with the quartier we know best – the Observatoire. It’s a neighbourhood that I … Continue reading

Posted in Paris history, Paris hospitals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Empty streets

Birdsong. That’s what I hear these days when I wake up. Not the sounds of neighbours going to work or getting the kids ready for school. But the sound of robins and sparrows and starlings. I hope our friends in … Continue reading

Posted in Paris architecture, Paris history, Paris streets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments