Well, I did not literally smell the ivy in Paris, but this is to say that the French capital city is filled with secret, poetic corners of greenery. This picture was taken in the middle of the 16th arrondissement...
It's run-down, derelict and bears a felt-tip inscription written by a helpful, considerate hand which says "Close the door". It's actually an electricity cupboard. This is why probably I did not even get closer or even thought of smelling that ivy.
Because the neighborhood is composed of ancient hamlets, now defunct, you can still feel the disshevelled, rusticating charm of yore tucked away in delicate corners of the sophisticated yet moldy city.
To me, Paris can be likened to Roquefort cheese in its desire to let things take on a lazy, mossy, green or brown patina. Even people are not that interested in a clean and chiseled look.
There are many such unconspicuous shrubby places and you uncover them by chance. There are courtyards that are like havens of peace. There are even patches of wine country. There are miniature gardens appearing behind window and balcony bars. There are community veggie gardens where you make communal soups.
When it is so clear that a civilization of the beige quarry stone dominates, nature is charming, never overwhelming even when it grows wild and untamed in very circumscribed places. It's a vignette of nature next to a busy, polished street filled with city life - a little folly of green.
Ivy however smells wonderfully fresh and foresty.
Of course, you would have to imagine what electrified ivy smells like as invited by this happenstance. This image to me is an eloquent symbol of the culture vs. nature tension, a stone throw-away from the goings of urban civilization.
This made me realize that there are perfumes that boast of electricity and high-voltage accords in their compositions.
Look out for them, and you will be smelling this highly symbolic, cultured note of the tension between the modern man-made taming of energy - granted, stolen from the god of thunder - meeting spontaneous, lush nature.