Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


One world, under butt…

Canadian “flag”, Chinese writing, a “Made in the USA” stamp and found in Paris. This folding stool has everything a world traveler needs (except probably valid papers since it looks like a very bad knockoff).

Canada stool


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Monet’s garden, Part II

They were ready for me in Giverny since all the flowers were on the purple end of the color spectrum. Also, they were trying to kill me since my allergies had a party all over my face with so much pollen around. Still, totally worth the trip. Next time, I’ll pack antihistamines.

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Surprise flower: one that looks like the Catalan flag!

Monet Catalan flag flower


Monet’s garden, Part I

A long time ago I recommended going to Giverny, the town where Monet settled to live and work. I hadn’t been since I was 7 and a half but had fond memories. I went again and those memories were justified as it’s a totally easy train ride and the grounds do not disappoint.

Here are a bunch of lily pads, descendants of the ones Monet painted, in his back garden.

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Barcelona primer

My top recommendation to people going to Barcelona is to visit the Palau de la Música Català since it doesn’t get enough love. Antoni Gaudí was great, but after living in BCN for a while, I actually grew to like the work of his Modernisme contemporary Lluís Domènech i Montaner better and the Palau is his most impressive work.

The downside is that it’s owned by a private foundation so the only way to see inside it is to take their tour. Despite what the website says, there isn’t an English tour guide available for all the advertised times, so I stress that you need to get there early and sign up for whatever English slot they have. If you’re a brave soul, sign up for whatever time is available as just looking at all the details (like blown glass on the bannisters) will be enough.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

My favorite part, the stained glass sun ceiling.

You also can’t take photos inside since the foundation owns the copyright on all images, but Rob Whitworth somehow managed to get in and included many shots in this great Barcelona video. The Palau part starts at 48 seconds in.

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Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

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I Want The Same!

Walking down a section of the rue des Petits Champs in the 2è, I comment to my New York companion that it’s like Canal Street because there are a lot of shops that sell knock-offs. At that precise moment, we pass this, one of my favorite places in town.

I Want The Same

I Want The Same

I sometimes go out of my way just to pass it because it makes me smile every time.

Related to me

On a road trip through southern France with my best friend in 2003, we stopped in a small shop to buy some water. There was a British family in there getting supplies too. The father was losing patience with his two kids and told them to just choose one thing and head to the register. The daughter hadn’t made up her mind yet, so her dad grabbed one item near her and turned away. Very primly, she pulled on the bottom of his shirt and with a little frown, said, “No, daddy. I don’t want _that_ one. I want this one” as she indicated a different thing. Maybe you had to be there, but that little girl still makes me laugh.