Tag Archives: jardin du luxembourg

Artsy Fartsy à Paris: 5 free activities for the creative explorer

If you think getting lost in the Louvre, wandering through Musée d’Orsay and emptying your wallet as you go is the only way to enjoy the arts in Paris, you’re missing out. Some of the best creative ventures in this city are actually the freebies, you just have to know where to find them.

Here are my top 5 (free!) Parisian activities for the artistic explorer:

Door, 59 Rivioli

1. Artists’ studios six stories high at 59 Rue Rivoli. 

This place is an endless treasure trove of living art. The artists who work here open their doors to the public Tuesday through Sunday, showcasing their work as they create it. There is always something new, and the artists are always ready for art talk. Métro: Châtelet

2. Slam poetry at Au Chat Noir. 

Every Monday night, Spoken Word Paris hosts an open mic event for poets, musicians, comedians and all-in-one performers. Entry is free, and if you get there before 9 pm, you’ll be able to catch the bar’s excellent happy hour. Métro: Parmentier

Tunnel Matt and Flora snap a photo

3. Take a graffiti tour of Belleville, one of Paris’s most happening neighborhoods. 

I got to do this a couple of weeks ago with some friends. Check out my post here to get some good tips and see my photos! 

4. Go to see an exhibit at the Jardin du Luxembourg. 

The Luxembourg Gardens have two free art exhibits: The first is along the gates on the outside of the gardens, where different photography exhibits are posted throughout the year. The second can be found inside, on the northwest corner, across from the little rose garden. Both are open to the public, and always evolving. Métro: Notre-Dame-des-Champs/St. Placide

La Seine

5. Go out for a night of dancing along the Seine at Quai Saint Bernard. 

If it isn’t raining, you can count on the many passionate dancers of Paris Danse en Seine to be tangoing, salsa-ing or folk-ing in one of the 3 amphitheaters at Quai Saint Bernard. Go and watch the dancers or join in yourself! La folie continues until midnight. Métro: Jussieu

This is only the beginning. If you have your own favorite freebies in Paris, share them in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list! 

Enjoy your creative adventure,





Filed under Prose

One day in April…

Stroll with me through the Luxembourg Gardens, on a Sunday afternoon, in April.

The trees are blooming,

the bees are buzzing from blossom to blossom to leaf.

blossoms Jardin du Lux bee

Bracelets tied on branches to remind the careful eye of summer

waited the winter out and now they bounce in the breeze.

bracelet 2

Boats bobble in the pond,

sailing to the shores of children’s springtime dreams.

Les Bateauxbateaux 2

Le Printemps, est-ce qu’il arrive? 


I snapped these photos on Sunday. The sun was shining and the people of Paris had come out of their winter hiding places to soak up the warmth. There was a hesitation in the air, as if we all wanted to tear off our coats and brush our bare toes against the grass, but no one dared because we were afraid to declare it Spring too hastily.

We may have kept our coats on this time. But they’ll be off soon.

Smiles and all the best,


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Filed under Paris, Photos

The Will to Carry On (Cheesiest Title Ever)

It is one thing to start a new routine. It’s another thing to maintain it.

Two weeks ago I started the “40 Day Savannah Smiles Challenge” in an effort to insert more beauty and balance into my life and render myself a little more positive, a little more like the sunny Savannah I used to know.

During the first week of the Savannah Smiles Challenge, I felt empowered and motivated. And I started writing. I started writing any chance I got— on the metro, on a bench in the Jardin du Luxembourg, waiting for a friend. I journaled every day. That is, until the new semester started.

On Monday I woke up and slid back into my old morning regimen: shower, make coffee, pour coffee number 1, read the news and answer emails, acquire coffee number 2, blow-dry hair, straighten bangs, rush out the door.

This is not necessarily a routine I dislike or find detrimental to my happiness. But it is not one that allows time for yoga or poetry. Hence it wasn’t until I was putting my shoes on that I realized I’d forgotten to do my sun salutations and read my poem. It’s the first day of classes, I thought, I can skip a day.

But skipping one led me to skip another and soon the routine I was trying to meld into my day-to-day life was sabotaged. This doesn’t mean I’ve failed completely. I just haven’t done a moon salutation or journaled in four days.

I am writing this post now to remind myself of why I started this challenge. I am writing this post to remind myself of why I need to continue. Creating a new routine doesn’t mean I have to destroy the old one, it just means I need to adjust my already established habits to accomodate those I want to add. Sacrificing a handful of minutes sifting through news on Twitter is a small price to pay for an entire day spent in a more balanced, more content state of mind.

Part of my challenge is to note one thing I’ve found beautiful throughout the day at the end of my daily journal entry. Here are a few things I’ve jotted down:

January 11th:

Today I discovered la Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. It is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. I worked there for three hours, all the while marveling at the great, black arches that support the ceiling and the yellowed, antique books that cover the walls. I got myself a library card, and I will be spending a lot of time there.

January 14th:

Paris in the snow is beautiful. The only reason I knew it was snow was because the flakes, each so small they looked like drops of mist, drifted down to the earth like feathers instead of plummeting to the sky like rain. Within an hour the snowflakes had grown and looked as they should when dancing through the crisp Paris air.

January 17th:

The pond in front of the Sénat is frozen except for in the center where the water is splashing down from the fountain and a small cut-out where garden-goers are feeding bread to the ducks. The sun, slowly setting, reflects off the shards of ice, making them glint like glass.

The grass is bright golden green in the sun. A single shadow, cast by a statue of a young boy, extends across the circular lawn like an hour hand on a clock.

Seagulls dive into the fountain and bob through the air. One of them has caught a piece of ribbon and is trailing it behind him as he soars across the periwinkle sky. The ribbon twinkles like tinsel and I want to fly like a kite.

This is beautiful.

Reliving the first week of my Savannah Smiles challenge through my journal entires has reaffirmed my desire to further integrate these new patterns, most importantly writing, into my every day. Writing is one of my greatest pleasures, and doing it consistently liberates and enriches my imagination.

I want to write everyday. Now I just need the discipline and self-awareness to ensure that I can find the time to do so. But if I’ve learned anything these past couple of months, I’ve learned that I always have the time. What I lack is the will.

Smiles and all the best,


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