Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sundays in Paris

Parisians are not particularly religious; on any given Sunday, churches are relatively empty, despite the strong Roman Catholic traditions. Parisians spend their Sundays outside if weather permits, enjoying the the hundreds of espaces vertes (green spaces--parks, squares, etc.) scattered throughout the city. Street performers are on every corner, bridge and stoop, and lots of roads are closed off to traffic. It's commonplace to see kids and adults alike with an ice cream cone or crepe, fresh from the corner vendor. Bridges are swarmed with all walks of life, from tourists to life-long residents, children to old. For one day a week, people leave their worries at their apartments and enjoy some time away from home. The city thrives with life.

I love Sundays in Paris.

This is the Centre Georges Pompidou, or as the locals call it, Beaubourg. You may have heard of it before--it's a museum of contemporary art and all the pipes are on the outside and color-coded to function. Blue for air, green for water, yellow for electricity and red for elevators.

However, my favorite part of the museum is the WORLD'S BEST LIBRARY EVER. It's called the Bibliothèque publique d'information, and people, I don't know how I wasn't aware of its existence the last time around. It's huge, has thousands of documents, and the best part--it has a LANGUAGE LEARNING CENTER. Nerd. Heaven. The downside is that there's no checking out, but it's also kind of nice, because it means the information is always there..which I'm pretty sure is the intention. I did not, however, know this little gem of information on my first visit. So I learned the hard way, i.e. trucking down 10 books to the main floor, asking where I could check them out, only to get dirty looks and a disapproving, "Mais madame, il n'y a pas d'emprunts ici." (Ma'am, there's no check-outs here.) Well thanks for the heads up, Paris. A SIGN would help!

The line was ridiculous today so I decided to take a little stroll around the city instead.

There's always street performers and artists looking for une petite pièce.

The city of Paris encourages the Sunday outings by blocking off certain streets to cars so that kids

can ride their bikes and rollerblade.

Notre Dame

La Seine

A street performer wrote on the pavement: "I love life, I'm invincible!"

Since I was in the area, I decided to make a quick stop at Shakespeare and Company, an institution of Bohemian Paris. It's an English-language bookstore, filled with books from floor to ceiling. I'm not sure how they actually stay in business since so many people just read, but I love it. Loves, loves, loves it.

Some quotations outside the store


"And there by the Seine was a bookshop, not the same, but similar to others I had known.

An utrillo house, not too steady on its foundations, small windows, wrinkled shutters. And

there was George Whitman, undernourished, bearded, a saint amongst his books, lending

them, housing penniless friends upstairs, not eager to sell, in the back of the store, in a small

overcrowded room, with a desk, a small stove." (Anais Nin, Diary, Vol. 5)

Luxembourg Gardens. The leaves just started to turn this last week and the city has turned a

beautiful bronze color.

Well I'm on vacation now, but am still waiting to be I can't go anywhere! :( I have lots of annoyances right now, mostly with the French goverment and the French family I work for, but I won't go into them right now. I'm focusing on the fact that I don't have to work (at school) for another 10 DAYS! Still have to work for two hours for the family make them dinner and speak eyes are rolling but I'll write about it another day.

Good week to all!