February 9, 2011 chartreusian

Paris

We had a very quick trip to Paris – it was a mere 24 hours and 8 minutes from the arrival of our train on Friday – until our train pulled away from the platform on Saturday. 

While it wasn’t tonnes of time – it was enough to see and do some things.  Having never lived in a big city – places like Paris always leave an impression on me.  It is a completely different world – and seems especially so when it was a very short slice of life in the 18eme arrondissement of Paris shoved right into the middle of our life in a little house on a narrow winding lane in the alpes on the edge of a quaint village up the mountains outside of Grenoble.

The following is a collection of rather scattered memories that I have from our day in Paris:

  1. A city worker in the Cimetière de Montmartre who was apparently supposed to be removing layers of moss and grime off the centuries old grave markers – but was instead cleaning off his friends Peugeot hatchback.
  2. A woman driving a scooter in a mini-skirt and high-heels
  3. Multiple groups of tourists stopping mid-stride in the middle of the sidewalk to unfold their “Free Tourist Map of PARIS!” and attempting to deduce their location
  4. People crammed so hard on the No 14 Metro that through the windows they looked like the smushed gummy bears through the clear portion of the bag that we picked up before the opera
  5. A courtyard in Nathan’s building: about 1.5m wide and 3m long – but 6 stories tall – like an inverted silo. 
  6. A group of about 10 older men who were playing Pétanque on the crushed stone sidewalks in Jardin des Tuileries just in front of the Louvre
  7.  A middle-aged woman on the metro with a violin case completely covered in skateboarding decals and US sports team stickers
  8. A small bakery in Montmartre where all three of the young employees were (apparently) American.
  9. The amount of guys aged 16-25 who jump the turnstiles at the metro
  10. City-workers turning on curb-side taps to let the water flow down the street in hopes of cleaning it – but essentially end up making a river of cigarette butts sliding along the curb
  11. A 20-something guy who had just climbed the stairs out of a metro station, got to the top just in front of us and noticed a woman with a stroller. Without a hesitation he turned right around and helped her carry it back down the equivalent of two floors or so, set it down, then just turned back and headed up again.
  12. A young father walking away from the local hardware store who had his purchase (a sheet of MDF that he had cut in the store, apparently) on a dolly that he pulled down the crowded sidewalks with his young daughter.
  13. Two gas-pumps installed basically right on the sidewalk – just on the side of a busy street. Apparently a heart-of-the-city version of a gas station.