A moveable feast

They talk of Paris in the spring, but it's also beautiful in autumn. September, 2005

They talk of Paris in the spring, but it’s also beautiful in autumn. September, 2005

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” 
Ernest Hemingway

I haven’t even been lucky enough to visit Paris more than twice, let alone live there, but for me it was love at first sight.  Those visits will stay with me the rest of my life, so I can easily imagine the truth behind Hemingway’s apt and much-quoted description.

That description isn’t true only of Paris, however.  As we enter the season most associated with feasts of various kinds, let’s think about the places we have been, and how our souls have feasted on the beautiful, unique, stimulating or relaxing qualities of this astoundingly diverse and breathtakingly gorgeous planet.  I am guessing that most of you, like me, have many places you carry around in your heart, moveable feasts that will stay with you forever.

I started this blog, in part, as a way to document and celebrate such joys I’ve experienced, but I have only seen a small fraction of all the earth has to offer.  What are some of your moveable feasts?  Share your thoughts, links, or photos below, and let’s have a banquet today!


  1. For me it’s undoubtedly Cambodia. It has captured my heart and soul .

    • I hope we are able to go there someday. For years, we have followed and supported an organization that does a lot of medical mission work in Cambodia. One thing they have is a ship that goes up the Mekong river (and maybe other places) bringing medical care to people in relatively remote areas. There is a dental clinic on board, staffed by volunteers who do a week or more at a time. Before Jeff got sick, one of the things we dreamed of in retirement is that maybe he could volunteer to do dental work on that ship and I could go along and do whatever they needed me to do. I am not giving up on that dream yet, and your comment just reinforces that hope for me! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I haven’t traveled a great deal overseas, but Venice was exceptional and more beautiful than postcards could even manage to convey. I’m mad about being on the water, eating near the water, walking by the water, sleeping to the sounds of boats moving in the water…..so a perfect place for me. We love Paris too, but for a different reason. It’s so Iconic, every direction you look is something you are amazed to be standing near. It’s a smorgy board of beautiful facades and I like the vibe. Cafe on the street, quick snack and off to see something else amazing.

    • Yes, Paris and Venice both have singularly appealing atmospheres. There’s really nothing I know that can compare to a moonlit night in Venice, wandering the endless maze of streets and canals, with occasional strains of music floating over the torch-lit air. Paris is alive in a way that is complex and fascinating; sedate and relaxed, yet totally stimulating. As Joni Mitchell wrote in the song, “I felt unfettered and alive.” Somehow, tea and croissants (or the iconic café au lait) just taste better there.

      • You paint a beautiful picture. You are an artist of words Julia.
        You’ve totally nailed Paris, yes! Contradictions abound. Like how do french woman eat all those croissants and Latte’s and stay slim. Even the mundane is met with a gasp when you’re in Paris.

        • They seem to have an aptitude for making things beautiful. I read a book years ago about how French women stay thin – I can’t remember the title, but the content seemed to focus on getting more enjoyment out of the things one does eat, focusing on quality rather than quantity.

          • Oui! That makes so much sense. I try and do that with other things I include in life, so why not food? Must adopt that attitude 😀

            • I read a quote just today that deals with that concept – watch for it, I’m sure it will show up here soon! 🙂

  3. I haven’t traveled much, but the Finger Lakes region of New York which my family calls home is absolutely gorgeous. I hope to find my way back there soon.

    • One when I was young, I asked my Daddy (who was an airline pilot) what part of the USA he thought was the prettiest, and he said upstate New York. He was probably taking about autumn, but I imagine it’s beautiful all the time. Maybe Jeff and I can go there someday. We really enjoyed driving across the state from Buffalo toward Boston. So much more to New York than NYC.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, you have shared so many beautiful moveable feasts with us this year. You (and others here) have taken me to places I’ve haven’t been to otherwise. My personal moveable feast remains San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I dream of returning there one day. I so hope y’all are having a wonderful weekend. Love, Sheila

    • Sheila, our weekend has been comforting and peaceful. I looked up San Miguel de Allende, and it does look like a lovely place. Many years ago when I was in 8th or 9th grade, our family and some friends went to Mexico City together. It was my first trip outside the US that I could remember, and I loved it. Perhaps if we ever go back there (Jeff has never been) we can take a side trip to San Miguel. Thanks for being here, and have a happy Sunday!


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