The weather here changes several times a day, from dramatic grey clouds with sun-bursts, to clear sparkling blue skies, to rain. Sometimes hard rain.
Women complain, “On ne sait jamais quoi porter.” (I never know what to wear!”) Café waiters complain that as soon as they serve their outside customers, they jump up with a great clatter of saucers, spoons and glasses and rush inside for shelter. The sun comes out and the waiters rush outside to wipe the tables. Well, sometimes they meander outside – rushing is not the MO in a café, thank heavens.
The other day, one of those days, I set out from my apartment near the place des Vosges –
past a group of lycée students clustered outside their school, I guess on recess,
and headed for a bus stop where I could get a bus to the parc des Buttes Chaumont. In the northeastern part of the city, specifically the 19th arrondissement, it is off the tourist’s usual path, but worth the trek if you have the time. It’s a beautiful large park, built on steep hills, so the walking is up one hill, down the other side of that one, up the next one, and so on. There are streams and waterfalls. Lounging on the grass is allowed:
jogging is allowed
and dogs are allowed –
At the top of one hill there are some terrific views (here, Montmartre’s Sacré-Coeur):
Next stop, lunch. Often you can have a very good lunch at a café, mixing with the office workers of that quartier, and that was just what I wanted. Unfortunately I landed at one where, despite the then-very sunny sky, the waiter assigned to the terrasse was in a horrible mood, grumpy about having to make and un-make the tables outside, and he just coudln’t get around to waiting on me. After 20 minutes, I left. I kept walking towards my next destination, the modern (designed by Christian de Portzamparc) Cité de la Musique. It’s a large complex of buildings housing a conservatory of music, performance halls and chambers, and a museum.
I saw a appealing restaurant, full of what seemed to be lunch-time regulars, and was warmly greeted and served. These hard-working restaurant staffs, where they work together well, day in and day out, enjoying their profession because they know they are serving good food to appreciative customers…well, for me, that’s one of the joys of Paris. Here’s a small indication, post-lunch time, of the work involved, and the loyalty of the clientele:
While i was happily eating and drinking inside, outside it started to rain – hard. After 10 minutes, it was over, and the streets and sidewalks were beautiful with the shine on them:
It was just a five-minute walk to the Cité de la Musique, where the current exhibit at the museum is on Bob Dylan and his role in the 1960′s “rock revolution.” The very large poster at the museum entrance, followed by a smaller one in the entry-way:
The exhibit included good photos by an American photographer, Daniel Kramer, who was more or less attached to Dylan and his pals in the 60s. There were photos and tv film footage of his time in Paris in 1964 or ’65. One amusing group of photos shows him being fitted for and wearing two very bespoke dandy suits. Tight-fitting, well-tailored, vivid prints! Very 60s, perhaps not very Dylan. Though he was certainly skinny enough then.
Back in my neighborhood around 5pm, it had rained again – and – the sun was out again. Lovely time, again, for shiny sidewalks: