Saw Montmartre today, stepped inside the Sacre Coueur. Saw an amazing panoramic view of Paris. But the most interesting thing I saw was a gang of street vendors selling packs of stolen cigarettes, stashing their supply inside art deco lamp posts. I’m learning what I like about places: mainly I like the less well-known cities and places. What they contain are surprising. The famous and important ones are fine, I guess, but it becomes about learning and appreciating why they’re famous and important. One feels like more of an experience, the other feels like more of a traditional education. I’m not explaining it perfectly.
I’m at Christophe’s place, Rue de la Tour, having just gotten back from walking around seeing what the Fete de la Musique had to offer.
The entire town is alive with music. Any spare space has a band or a singer in it. Hand-drawn ‘CONCERT’ notices directing people down side streets. Walking toward the Marais it sounded like the fifty-foot-tall head of Ella Fitzgerald was wedged into the lane to our left, sweetly singing “What a Wonderful World” to the passing traffic. The music just resonated down the canyons of the street, eerie, spectral and perfect. Music you might hear in a deserted city in the minutes before the world died. And this was everywhere. Latin bands, riotgrrl bands, classical music, show tunes, punk, rock, folk… It was everywhere.
Christophe had planned for us to end the night with us catching a performance of songs from things like West Side Story beneath the pyramid at the Louvre. We got there, though, and people had queued for 3 hours and we didn’t get in. Had a good night though. Seriously, I wasn’t sure what I thought of Paris. This woke me up a little, and I’m glad.
By the way, I’m five floors up, there’s a pair of French doors (ho ho) in front of me, and the top half of the Eiffel Tower is looking right at me, spotlight panning. Actually, it must have just struck the hour because the whole thing is sparkling the way cameras do in stadiums. Or like it’s being electrified in a cartoon.
I’ll upload any decent shots I took tomorrow. Not many I suspect. But here’s the only shot of me in the wild so far:
And this. Because it seems like the done thing.