Paris in January is gray and dreary and everybody is crashing from the holiday high of Christmas. To escape, the cold, dreary weather and mood of Paris, Vincent and I needed to escape to a sunny, warmer locale not too far away, as we could only spare a few days. Seville was the ticket.
We arrived in the early afternoon and it was clear, crisp, sunny day with temps about 62 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to soak up as much sunshine as we could during the next few precious hours, we checked in to our hotel quickly and decided to skip indoor monuments and museums.
While working on absorbing color on our faces and of the city, we strolled through some beautiful parks with lush greenery, weaved in and out of the narrow streets of the old quarter, and later had a lunch of various tapas at an outdoor tapas café.
As you know I am not into super touristy things, but I received complimentary passes for the Seville Hop-on-Hop-off bus. I decided to give it a try on our second day to better acquaint ourselves with the city. It worked out very well, as many points of interest are spread all over the city and not that accessible by public transportation. I always forget what a great way to see the city is by bus and the explanations of the different monuments was very informative as there were many things about Seville I learned that I didn't know about before.
I inquired about going to a bullfight but the season didn’t begin till April. Disappointed, we settled for second best and took a tour on the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza bullfighting ring on our second day as well as visiting the museum. It was a guided tour and our female guide, a typical southern Spaniard with big brown eyes and coal black hair, was cute and very informative. We learned about the roots of bullfighting, which started in Spain in 1726 and there are five major styles of bullfighting. We first toured the empty ring with red portals, wheat colored sand in the arena, and brick seats with blue and white enamel numbered seats on them. The guide’s explanation of the rituals of bullfighting conjured up vivid visions of virile, gaily dressed matadors, the mighty bull, and crowds of people cheering him. The museum part had the opulent, heavily embellished matador outfits along with accessories. Lastly we saw the stalls where the bulls are kept.
Street Matador on Cell Phone
One of the other great traditions of Seville is flamenco dancing. Flamenco, dating back centuries and traced to gypsies, originally started in the Andalusia region of Spain. We went to the Flamenco Museum and it was my favorite museum in Seville. I was enthralled with a very well done film with incredible dancers showing the different types of flamenco. Another part of the museum had a spotlight showcasing a series of flamenco shoes and also had some of the flamboyant dresses with oodles of ruffles. The museum whetted out appetites for the flamenco show we were seeing that night and we couldn’t wait.
La Casa de la Memoria is one of the top venues in Seville to see authentic flamenco performances. We arrived at 7:30PM to get a good seat for the 8PM show and we were surprised how small the theater was. It had only two rows of chairs and the front row just about touched the stage. I was later told this was a traditional type of stage to make the performance more intimate with the audience. The show started with a guitar playing somberly and slowly, followed by a singer. About fifteen minutes later a striking female flamenco dancer with jet-black hair in a bun and high check bones began her dance. She started slowly; channeling the music into her being, and moments later she fastly and furiously tore up the stage, intensely banging her heels into the floor.
Next up was an incredibly handsome young male flamenco dancer with olive skin and the most beautiful hands with long, expressive fingers. His intensity and speed was remarkable and he took the audience’s breath away. People were jumping out of their seats applauding when he was done. We sat next to an American man who lived in Seville for two years. Being I had no knowledge of what was considered great flamenco, I asked what he thought of the male flamenco dancer and he replied that his performance was exceptional and rare and we were lucky to have seen it. We were now that much more thrilled we not only saw an authentic flamenco show but a great one. click here to watch flamenco video Vincent shot Download IMG_21
Now inspired by the lore of flamenco, I started shooting photos of shops selling flamenco shoes and dresses all over Seville, which was practically every other shop.
I’ll be writing about Seville all this week, so stay tuned.
Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza
Paseo de Cristóbal Colón, 12, 41001
Museo Del Baile Flamenco/Flamenco Museum
Calle de Manuel Rojas Marcos, 3, 41004
Casa de la Memoria- Please note there is a new address and it is not listed on the internet yet, so please ask your hotel for new address.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 195 euros for up to 3 people, and 65 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am happy to announce the sale of a new set of prints of my Eye Prefer Paris Photos. I am offering 20 of my most popular and iconic images for sale including my doors, architectural details, statues, and monuments. They will make great gifts for all your Francophile friends, relatives, and colleagues but don't forget to buy some for yourself.
Click here to see photos and for full details including sizes, prices, and shipping. Here is a sample of some of the photos.