anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘Paris

Is Paris Any Good or Not?

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Paris skyline

I’ve got thoughts about Paris and our notion of “home” in a new essay over on Medium. I have been meaning to write this essay for quite some time, and happy that it found a place in The Archipelago collection.

In the beginning, you feel high just from being in Paris. At dusk, the light hits the buildings just so. You find a bakery that makes the best almond croissants in the world. Nothing can get you down. But then eventually the downs do come, and they hit you hard, like a bucket of cold water in the face. Your bank meeting that was supposed to take ten minutes takes two hours. A taxi almost hits you while you’re riding your bike in the bike lane and you’re the one who gets yelled at. It rains. It gets gray. You try to go for a run and get hit on — “courage mademoiselle.” You spend far too much time arguing in French to get something accomplished that you didn’t even want in the first place. A certain dreariness sets in that you can’t seem to shake.

Like Bogart in Casablanca, I try to tell myself “I’ll always have Paris” — not the real city, with its homicidal cars and persistent men, but the memory, the good stuff. Eventually the daily frustrations will fade, and in ten years it will be easy to gloss over the frustration and be one of those people that casually throws “that time I lived in Paris” into conversation. It wasn’t just a ten-day trip, or a month abroad, I’ll tell people. No, I actually went and lived there. Wrote there. Ran there. Drove there. Called it home for a while. Even in the darkest moments, there’s something comforting about that thought. I’ll always have Paris.

In the meantime, because of my adopted city’s magical reputation, I don’t get to complain. “The apartment is tiny, I’m starting to feel claustrophobic.” “Yeah, but Anna, you’re in PARIS.” As if, once enough poems are written about a city, it becomes impossible to be sad there.

It felt good to write this piece. The editor challenged me to call it “Is Paris Any Good or Not?” but if anything it’s less about Paris and more about thinking what “home” means, and maybe even, where “home” is.

You can read the full essay here.

Written by Anna Brones

July 23, 2014 at 08:23

Posted in Paris, Portfolio

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1,000 Miles: Month 6

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“What’s in like to run in Paris?” friends sometimes ask.

Paris is one of those places that has a certain reputation. It has an identity that’s known around the world. But like with anything, there’s an identity that we see from the outside and the one we see from the inside.

When you live in a place you come to know that inner identity. You live the everyday things that no one ever talks about outside of that place, and that’s particularly true when it comes to Paris. Because who would be silly enough to criticize Paris?

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Written by Anna Brones

July 4, 2014 at 16:47

Wild City: Les Jardins du Ruisseau, Paris

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Les Jardins du Ruisseau by Anna Brones

All wildness is finer than tameness.

-John Muir

In an urban jungle I have been craving wild respite.

Trees.

Flowers.

Earth.

Growth.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 10, 2014 at 17:20

1,000 Miles: Month 5

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Hills and altitude.

If I had to sum up the fifth month of 1,000 Miles, that would be it. Hills and altitude. There were a lot of both of them.

During the last month I was home in the US, so running meant taking on the hills in Forest Park in Portland (a reunion run for the 1,000 Miles trio), a thigh-burn inducing uphill climb by my parents’ house in Washington, and making my best attempt at emulating a mountain goat on trails around Telluride, Colorado.

Realization: I have much more training to do before I become a mountain goat.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 4, 2014 at 15:09

Tracking Down Good Coffee in Montmartre

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sacre coeur

People often ask me where they should go when they come to Paris. It takes time to make personal itineraries for people (I really should start charging…), but fortunately I write enough roundups that I can just start sending links instead. Case in point: my favorite coffee spots around Montmartre.

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Written by Anna Brones

April 16, 2014 at 11:42

Everything You Wanted to Know About Coffee in Europe (Infographic)

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coffee cup

Just in case you needed a good infographic of all things related to European coffee drinking, there’s this infographic. Although I do wonder where all the Scandinavian countries are… because if anyone knows how to drink coffee, it’s the people in the Nordic lands.

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Written by Anna Brones

March 12, 2014 at 13:48

Refilling Your Wine Bottle at a Different Kind of Wine Bar: En Vrac, Paris

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en vrac 3

The first time I went to En Vrac, I immediately fell in love. You come here not just to buy wine, but to enjoy a different kind of wine buying experience. Because here, you fill your wine bottle from a stainless steel tank. Yes, wine in bulk.

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Written by Anna Brones

March 10, 2014 at 10:09