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I finished the move to my new place this morning and I’m really liking it.  Lots more elbow room and the feel of being a real home.  I’m coming to realize that this area draws a mix of tourists, visitors from the “banlieues” and Parisians that is more interesting than I first thought.  I’m going to enjoy living here, even though I will miss Montorgueil.

After settling in I headed out to the national library to see an exhibit of Indian miniatures.  It was closed, however, because May 1 is a “jour férié“.  As I now understand it this is as if Christmas fell on a Saturday.  Many things normally open on Saturdays would be closed.  We have only a few days like that in the U.S. but there are lots of them here.  I had a nice lunch at the library’s café instead.

Next I met up with my cousin Lisa for a gentle climb up to the Parc de Belleville, through a vibrant  multi-cultural neighborhood.  We ran into a whole series of unexpected delights:  The militant May Day parade; a street completely covered with graffiti; some nice young men readying a makeshift screen on which to project a movie they had made about their neighborhood; an open-air community performance of Hamlet by four versatile actors; a gorgeous multi-racial family.  Here’s Lisa at the May Day parade:

Lisa Damon at the Paris May Day Parade, 2010.

And here’s the Belleville family portrait:

A Belleville family portrait: grandmother, granddaughter, mother and father.

Lisa’s partner, Ali, is Iranian.  He guided us through a delicious dinner at a Persian restaurant in my neighborhood.  After showing them my new place, and of course blogging, I’m off to bed just before midnight.