Saturday, December 23, 2006

Parisien Noel

Wednesday arrival to Paris brought about giddy excitement. After five hours of delay in Philly, a troubled arrival, and long lines for customs, I finally made it to Les Halles, and into our apartment. In Paris you'll see six desks at which two people will work. In China you'll see two desks at which twelve people will work. The long customs line was served as an ad hoc indictment of the French lunch hour, and interesting commentary on labor supply. In Paris you get a long customs line; In Beijing you get seven crossing guards for one intersection, and two attendees to take your ticket on the metro.

Wednesday we explored the Marais and Les Halles before crashing early. Thursday morning we began with a walk through Ile de la Cite and into the Left Bank. After four macaroons from Pierre Hermes in the Lux Gardens overlooking winter greens, pidgeon fights, and hat-wearing enfants, we embarked to Reid Hall and then to the Sorbonne to attend a classical French literature course with Anna. A doffed hat, smile, and pseudo-Parisien nod got me through the university gates sans ID, and two hours later I remembered how little French lit talk I understand in French. After university we explored Montmartre, and took a walk to the top of Sacre Cour to watch the Eiffel Tower light on the hour. After an italian dinner we bought books at Shakespeare & Co. and listened to jazz in a nearby underground club.

Friday, after an Israeli falafal in the Marais, a Robert Doisneau exhibit at Hotel de Ville, and a trip through frenetic FNAC, we listened to a virtuoso Chopin concert in the oldest Paris cathedral, a small stone relic from the XII century. Though a meal at Entrecote was lined up next, vegetarian predelection stood in the way of steak, and we settled for a bottle of rouge and a balanced meal on Boulevard de Saint Germain in SG de Pres.

Aujourd'hui, after a sandwhich mixte and a pair of le coc sportif shoes, we spent the day at the Louvre, deciphering coptic and demotic, heiroglyphs, Greek busts, and oogling at Darius' former Persian relics. We snapped a few jumping pictures next to the Pyramids (Louve, that is), paid a visit to Buddha Bar, Rue St. Honore, and Hermes for up-market fun, and then settled on a spagetti bar in Les Halles to bring down our Sat night. Tomorrow promises Christmas fun... Joyeaux Fetes