Saturday, March 6, 2010

Homesick For Another Home

Ah, the iconic Place Saint-Michel -- how I miss thee! This fountain and square can be found in the Latin Quarter of Paris, just south of the St. Michel bridge. I know it's ultra touristy and crowded and, as such, is an area most likely avoided by most true Parisiens . . . but I can't help myself. Something about this area, so very close to Notre Dame cathedral, is very calming to me. I feel at peace, like as if I'm home away from home.

Does any of this make sense?

Anyway, I took this photo during our first full day in Paris last year. Since we're heading back there in two weeks, I've been going through the album and reliving some of our best moments in the city of light. This one made me much nostalgic and, also, very psyched for our return.

I love the faded red columns, and the small statuettes on top representing the four Cardinal virtues. But, of course, the real center of attention is the fountain. Even in winter the water is flowing. Or, at least, it was when we were there. The main winged statue depicts, of course, the archangel Michael as he slays Satan. The dragons on either side represent Satan's minions. The fountain was designed by Gabriel Davioud in the mid-19th century, and sculpted by some famous artists at the time (who's names I can't seem to remember at the moment). I've heard that originally the statue was supposed to be of Napoleon, but was changed to Saint Michel at the last minute.

Wow, talk about an improvement! I don't think the piece would have had quite the same impact if it had depicted the diminutive general-turned-Emperor instead. Would have seemed rather gauche by Paris standards, I think.

Anyway, don't mind me. Just waxing nostalgic here as we slowly prepare for our trip. I've been keeping track of the long-range weather forecasts to see if maybe we'll get lucky this time and have more than one measly afternoon of sunshine when we head back. So far the prognosis looks good, but you never know. Paris's weather is as fickle as her women.

Okay, I completely lied about that last part. I mean, how would I know anyway, right? Right???


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