Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Everyone experiences Paris differently. Some with joy, some with sadness, some just oblivious, as a fish is probably oblivious of the water it swims in. I always refer to Paris as 'my' city but she belongs to no one and to everyone who has ever been there. A city is, in effect, the result of activities over time, the longer the time, the richer the activities, the more beautiful the city. Here is rue Galande. I don't know how old this street is or how many thousands of people have lived on it or how many millions of people have walked on it since it got its name in the year 1202 but here it is today, for me, perhaps for you if you are lucky enough to visit Paris. I see this street with a feeling of joy. My first year in Paris I had a memorable dinner in Le Navigator. I suppose some, like the walking man in the white hat, view this street as just an interlude in a work day, maybe not even conscious that once, at 8 meters wide (26 feet) it was one of the most desirable streets in Paris. The street is an accumulation of objects, houses built, stones laid, signs painted, all of which give it its character. And over time it achieves a harmony that hides from the casual viewer all or most sense of time or era. What would be different in this image 100 years ago? Not much more perhaps than the window air conditioners and the 'circulation interdite' sign. Rue Galande has been rue Galande, just like this, for me, for the last 25 years. I hope it stays this way for long time, resisting the inexorable changes, some for the better but most not, to my Paris.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
It's dark outside but not late on this October evening. We've had dinner and feel a little restless so we put on our coats and walk out to the street with no goal in mind. We are in Paris after all and surely, something interesting will happen. To the right is Notre Dame and the Quai. Not tonight, too lonely for our mood. We turn left and walk down rue Maître Albert to Place Maubert. It is like a village, the shops are all still open even though it is approaching 9 pm. It's a Wednesday evening so the scaffolding for the Thursday market is up and I have to duck under the pipes, by now an ingrained habit. We head up the hill toward Place de la Contrescarpe. It will be lively up there in Hemingway's old neighborhood and if we get tired from climbing the hill there will be places to sit by the fountain and drink a glass of wine or maybe a grog au rhum. Halfway up the hill on rue de la Montagne is this ancient fountain. Just behind the fountain are three pubs that we have never been in for some reason even thought they look quite nice. I'm pretty sure that on our next visit in a few weeks that we will stop in to La Methode to see if it is as nice as it looks but tonight we continue up the hill to Contrescarpe and its larger fountain. We will check to see if one of the book stores is still open and browse there until they close. As the evening comes to an end for us we slowly work our way back down the hill, pleasantly warm with memories of not enough evenings spent like this in years gone by.