Aarchna, art, banlieue, Belleville, clouds, Danube, Eiffel Tower, flâneur, France, Il faut se méfier des mots, Ivy covered cottage, Jordain, Kristoffer, la Mouzaïa, Nausicaa Favart Amouroux, One must mistrust words, Opéra, Opéra Garnier, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris, Pré Saint-Gervais, quartier d’Amérique, Rosa Bonheur, rue de Belleville, rue de Crimée, rue du Télégraph, semaphore, Télégraph, Un Tapis de Poésie, villas, Water towers, weather
On Sunday morning I saw Kristoffer off on the Roissybus at Opéra. The ticket machine at the bus stop was broken but he was able to buy a ticket from the driver (since he had prudently saved 11 euros in cash).
In prior years I’ve just sent departing guests out the door with detailed instructions, but a Boston friend has taught me how nice it is to see someone off. This is especially true when I’ve been handling navigation issues for my guest while we’ve been together, so he may not have gotten particularly comfortable with the métro, etc. How I have remained oblivious to this all these years is a mystery, but it’s not too late to teach this old dog a new trick! (Though note that I didn’t go all the way to the airport and back; let’s not get carried away here!)
This year’s sojourn has been very sociable. A series of old and new friends have stayed with me for several days each: Jared R, Sherard, Omar and Kristoffer, and I’ve spent a lot of time with other visiting friends, including Jared W, Craig and Arturo. As in other years I’ve seen a lot of Zhizhong, and I’ve started catching up with other French friends as well. Earlier in the trip I stayed with Charlie and Markevin near Toulouse and spent a couple of afternoons with Grégory in Bordeaux, not to mention my new Korean friends. This has been great fun, but it has also left me with less alone time than in prior years, and has greatly changed the blogging dynamic. From a discipline that I followed (almost) every evening in 2010 it has become a binge project that gets a week or two behind, then takes me a day or two to catch up! All a long way of saying that it’s different, but quite OK, to now spend a few days alone.
Sunday afternoon I headed over to Rosa Bonheur for old time’s sake. The weather has continued to be a mix of sun and rain, but there was a pretty good crowd on the terrasse. I didn’t get into any deep conversations but I did exchange a few nice words with a young woman who was there with her young son and older mother.
After finishing my beer I strolled over to the area of little “Villas” to the west of the Park des Buttes Chaumont, which I now see is called la Mouzaïa or the quartier d’Amérique. I added a few shots to my Picasa/Google photo set on la Mouzaïa then continued on to see some of the open studios in an area I had not previously visited, the city of Pré Saint-Gervais, a banlieue!
As usual there was a lot of so-so art, but I really liked several pieces by Nausicaa Favart-Amouroux.
I also enjoyed a poetry reading accompanied by violin at Un Tapis de Poésie.
Pré Saint-Gervais itself seemed to have something of a Turkish tilt, but otherwise seemed quite Parisian and not scary, except for an abandoned building, covered with graffiti.
I had actually encountered a scarier scene earlier within the city limits at Danube.
I had a nice Indian dinner at Aarchna, on rue du Télégraph back in Belleville. I was interested to learn that the « télégraph » was actually one of the earliest lines of visual semaphores, which in 1794 allowed a message to be transmitted from Paris to Lille in three hours that previously took three days on horseback. That’s why it was placed on the highest hill in Paris, also why there are now water towers on the same spot.
After dinner I walked down rue de Bellevile as the sun went down (around 10 pm!). Here are a few atmospheric pictures from my day as a lone flâneur.
All day Monday and Tuesday morning I did literally nothing but catch up on my blog. Enjoy!
Mot du jour: banlieue, literally, “suburb,” but many of the inner ring of cities just outside Paris are ethnic, depressed and at times dangerous so in France the term has a sketchy resonance.