Paris / Deux

June 26, 2008

Yesterday, if captured in a few words: photography, churches and shopping. I had resolved to walk everywhere; and except for returning home in the evening, I had some success. My route resembled an epileptic Etch-a-Sketch drawing, partially due to Paris’ lack of a street grid, and partially to a futile quest to find a pair of jeans.

My walking tour of Paris started before the morning tourist rush, up narrow cobblestone residential streets to Sacre Coeur. There was an epic solidity to the structure, usually I prefer the more graceful lines of gothic cathedrals. Four Gothamesque winged angels flanked the base of the basilica at the transept, the only exception being their color—milky white—unlike the church’s soot-stained limestone exterior.

Went south through the Louvre to the Seine, cutting east along the south bank to Pont Neuf, snapped photos of tourists snapping photos of the cathedral and each other. I wanted to see the gargoyles from the towers in Notre Dame, but the line was impossibly long and my patience—and growling stomach argued otherwise. Notre Dame was no exception to the day’s themes of fetishistic camera pride and hokey assemblages of family portraiture. Inside, a pudgy American dude with his girlfriend—wife?—won the trophy for smallest penis. I kind of felt like pleading Canadian when asked. Or at least San Franciscan. “Where’s that?” “California.”

I was reminded then of the laissez-faire process of getting through customs. The men minding security past passport control hardly bothered to glance up as I passed through the gates into France, returning to their conversation and imaginary cigarettes. I imagine life must be difficult for them, smoking being banned in infinitely more places since the last time I visited.

From Notre Dame, I wandered into St. Germain for lunch—a 2 hour proposition—and then alternated between galleries and clothing shops, visiting Centre Pompidou, Des Halles, and ping-ponging back and forth in a vain search for the Acne Jeans store. Upside, I don’t need a map for parts of the city anymore. I found book and photography shops, architecture and comic stores, cobbled lanes and marvelled again at the vast flocks of scooters and the men & women who piloted them.

Everyone smoked, everywhere, all the time. Impossibly cute girls perched on the backs of motorcycles, puffing away with one hand wrapped around their boyfriend’s waist, dodging bicycles and lorries like pigeons.

Tired from walking all day, I headed back toward my hotel and ended up getting lost in the Metro during rush hour. An hour and a half-dozen train changes later, I emerged from the Lamarck-Caulaincourt station and immediately collapsed into a chair outside for Leffe and people watching. An hour later, via the pharmacie to buy a razor and a supermarché for dinner, I made it back, 12 hours after I’d left.

Hooray, my luggage was delivered. Secretly annoyed at the lost chance of a shopping spree in Paris on American Airlines’ dime—having purchased a raft of shirts, socks and underwear earlier—but the prospect of getting my Acnes back was grin-worthy.

I passed the fuck out.

When I woke up and checked the time, I didn’t know whether it was 8 AM or 8 PM—the light is the same. I nom-nom’ed on baguette + Nutella, bottled water and bacon crisps (WIN) and decided to kick it with Ableton for a while. I scratched the last 4 songs off the June mix I’d been working on, determined to stay focused on creating a purely danceable, fuck-you mix. Sorry folks—no Sufjan this time. Around 2 AM, Ableton decided that it’d had enough of my cracked copy and punted me out, just as I was dialing in the last song. Dwnloading my shiny new (legal) copy as I writes this.

Meeting up with some folks from OpenID Europe tonight, and ideally more of the wedding party. Thinking about finding some underground or macabre today, or maybe just sitting in the Luxembourg gardens listening to music. Can’t decide, and quite happy I don’t have to.