Paris is simultaneously so many adjectives why pretend yours is more valid than Jean Paul the taxi-driver’s, or Walid the TV historian’s or Julia Child the famous chef’s? So here are some photos to convince you I’m not in Kansas anymore.
My apartment is in the 3rd arrondissement (or Paris district) of 20 arrondissements.
The 3rd is partway through a gentrification. It’s the hot and hip area which doesn’t vary enough from continent to continent to rouse much interest. However it’s deliciously placed and myriad destinations are walkable from here.
In New York you’re aware of the firm grid of streets and avenues above the southern morass of cow paths. Here major streets continually meet in mad stars of traffic, red and green lights (small by US standards) control traffic in wheeling directions — pedestrian, two- three- and four-wheeled vehicular. You haven’t lived till you find yourself staring into the intense face of a suit and tie bearing down on you on a speeding motor scooter.
I remember a long-ago dinner with an inane male type who boasted of having had his Mustang shipped to Europe. Oh so many streets he couldn’t have fit down let alone parked. Yesterday on one such street there was this sign on the left,
Two or three steps across the street from this another building with a sign in stone,
History. The lives that have left their traces in Paris. Sure, maybe someone fudged a few yards on where Louis XIII became king but in the US the best we’ve got is the old saw ‘Washington slept here.’ Something sacred about this much significance ladled over the same patch of earth for continuous years.
Yesterday we found ourselves witlessly traveling along the back of the gendarmerie — countless navy-blue busses backed toward the building (the better to roar into action), Impeccable grillwork encapsulating each back-up light. Buses, police buses — for what other reason than massive mayhem? Yet France has its reasons. We are not frequenting large gatherings of people.
Yet on this same walk we passed massive doors into the building. Some wag had snapped a bicycle lock onto this ferocious lion-and-snake door-pull
C’est la vie.