I am back from the third of my three vacations this summer and once again, I come with pictures and thoughts and things, this time from Paris, France.
You may remember that in 2015, I was in Japan and had the chance to see a Takarazuka show, Hakushaku no Reijou. During the post-show postmortem, we all decided that the show was set in “Paris of the Imagination” rather than a real time or place. I now understand why. ^_^ Paris is a city that has a great deal of historicity, much of which is still functioning as business places and homes. While the 21st century has made it’s mark, it’s been kept at bay, both literally and figuratively, with construction of skyscrapers kept mostly out to the edges of the city. So, when sitting in a cafe, one can be forgiven for allowing one’s self to believe that one is, for a moment, feeling the “true” pulse of Paris. Of course, one is fully delusional at that moment, but it’s forgivable.
To begin with, we ended up staying in the geek central part of Paris, so one afternoon we spent a few hours digging around the various Album and Pulp stores for bande dessinée, (French-language comics. I picked up a few and will review them someday,) manga in French, figurines, artbooks, American comics and the like. Among these was the lovely complete set of Lady Oscar pictured at the top of the post, with character designs, character backstories and commentary. Despite the fact that it was in French I almost bought it. ^_^
I knew there are any number of Yuri titles available – I was particularly looking for Fleurs Bleues, the French-language edition of Aoi Hana, but did not find it. I imagine it’s too old to be in the shops. But I did see some Yuri on shelves. Saburouta’s Citrus was clearly marked “Yuri.”
And I managed to snag a free preview booklet of Tagame Gengoroh’s Outoto no Otto, which is getting a release in France. An English release is in the works, as well.
We are also waiting on the official release of Rose of Versailles in English from Udon Press, so my wife and I took one day to visit Versailles. Of course, we brought with us the mythos of Oscar and Marie, Fersen and the rest of the cast of this great epic manga. I tried, as we walked around, to picture them walking these paths and hallways. Not always easy, as the only people in Versailles now are tourists. I joked about the horror with which Marie would view her Chateau now, crawling with plebs as it is.
Versailles is…big. Not space big, but really big.
I kept thinking of scenes from Rose of Versailles, in which Oscar rode up to the palace, leapt off her horse and stormed through the halls to whomever’s apartments. That would have been a 40 minute trip and let me tell you, she’d be tired when she got there.
It’s almost impossible to grasp the scale of Versailles from the inside, as all the rooms are relatively small, but so cluttered with multicolored marble and paintings and gilded features that there’s nowhere for one’s eyes to rest. It would be almost impossible to capture the muchness of the place, but I see that the anime did a decent enough job, considering. A background like this:
actually looks more like this:
We both thought that the place would do well to have either cosplayers in the distant rooms, or an augmented reality app that would show the place full of people who were actually living and working there, rather than as the dead museum of the past that it is now.
We didn’t have a chance to see Marie’s Petit Trianon or her little fake village, because it was just too much to do, but I imagine I will come back once again and once more imagine Oscar and Andre and Marie walking these halls.
Let me remind you that if you’re looking for a good excuse to visit Versailles, Paris’ own Yuri and Yaoi event, Y/Con 5 will be held on November 12 & 13!
Au revoir for now, France, but I have no doubt that I’ll be back to once again to enjoy the Paris of my imagination. ^_^