I will be honest. I did not think I would like Palm Springs. Too artificial. Too glitzy. Too car-oriented for this enthusiastic walker. But 350 days of sunshine a year is a tempting proposition when one lives in the Pacific Northwest.
I was wrong about Palm Springs.
The desert belle was good enough for Robert Doisneau, and it was good enough for me.
|While mom is window shopping, the budding photographer gets his fill of collectible cars|
|Oh la la! This is even better than watching “Top Gear!”|
|It does not take long to figure out where Palm Springs got its name…|
|Norma Jean, and a gorgeous backdrop|
|“Forever Marilyn:” a 26-foot tall statue by J. Seward Johnson|
I felt I was back in Belgium where I spent many happy weekends with my family as I was growing up in Lille, France…
|Moules Marinières – Frites, bien sûr!|
When in Rome, do as the Romans do… We did not forget to enjoy California delicacies…
Shopping was not too shabby either. In an all American city like Palm Springs, shopping is available almost around the clock. Forget le lèche-vitrine (window-licking:) Most shops are tucked away on both sides of busy avenues, in strip malls of various sizes, accessible only by car. A notable exception: the local Rodeo Drive, known as “El Paseo…” Elegant, exclusive, walkable… a feast for the eyes… hurtful to the wallet… In short, incontournable (a must-see.)
|Chi-chi pooches on El Paseo…|
|Everything looks a little bit cooler on El Paseo:
“J. Crew in the Desert…”
It has only been a few weeks since we returned to the lush and glistening Pacific Northwest, and as I look back on our short trip, I realize it is not the glitz and glamour of Palm Springs I remember fondly; the Rat Pack; Frank Sinatra Drive; Elvis’ honeymoon hideaway; or even the old Plaza Theater… The most amazing part of the desert city is not in Palm Springs, but around it.
Quel cadre exceptionnel! What an exceptional environment! As we found out, there is a lot more to do in Palm Springs than shopping or playing golf: Nature is the real star there. From the desert to snow capped mountains; from expansive native California palm groves; Palm Springs is surrounded by dramatic landscapes.
For history buffs, the story of the native Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians – the original settlers – is fascinating. Junior and I were lucky enough to hike in the Indian Canyons, on the reservation grounds. Treading carefully on steep trails in the middle of a lush palm grove one minute; we would often end up climbing on a windy plateau in quasi-lunar landscape a few moments later. We had found it: Le grand ouest américain! (the American far west.)
This was rollicking good fun for Junior and maman. A time to just be together and enjoy the moment, away from house chores; homework; and car pools… As I watched him snap away, I thought: “Old Robert Doisneau would be happy: a new generation has stepped up!“
|I would not have been surprised to see John Wayne show up on his horse…|
I know we will be back. Seattle is so far away from just about everywhere… but flying to Palm Springs only takes a couple of hours. Quelle chance! What a treat!
A bientôt, Palm Springs: Stay eclectic. Stay sunny and warm. Stay cool!
|Only in Palm Springs do they seem to blend in:
Les Eoliennes (wind turbines)