SANCTUARY! Posted by Hello
I get off at the Hotel de Ville metro stop and head towards Notre Dame. I am have made a solemn oath with myself not to look or smile at anyone. I am not allowed ANY crazy artists until I get done sightseeing for the day.
Notre Dame is really the first BIG tourist attraction I enter. Unlike St Eustache, where there isn't anyone around, and Sacre Couer. where the guards are very aggressive about tourists being quiet, the tourists at Notre Dame are loud and obnoxious. While standing still trying to look st the windows and paintings, I was continually jostled. No one stands still in Notre Dame, they simple walk and take pictures or glide about with a video camera. Most of the photographers and videographers plow over each other oblivious even to anything but the screen in front of them. The tourists do not simply look in the moment, but will look when they get home.
While I am standing looking at a particularly amazing stained glass window, I am bumped into by someone speaking in Italian. The person keeps bumping into me, and finally I turn to see who is being so rude. I am confronted by an entire group of tourists who all look asian, but are speaking fluent Italian. Something about the moment seemed surreal, it seemed not right. Of course, it occurred to me later, there was no reason why anyone growing up in Italy, regardless of appareance, wouldn't speak Italian, but somehow it just seemed wrong. I saw and dealt with a great many asian looking people who spoke french, this didn't bother me. ( Perhaps because I saw the film Indochine when I was fairly young and therefore knew about the interaction of these two cultures.) But somehow the whole scene struck me as slightly Pirandello.
I did not stay long at Notre Dame. The outside arches of the doors reminded me of Westminster Abbey, but I preferred the quiet of St Eustache.
However, Notre Dame is the first place that I really wish I had a camera, not for the structure itself, but because once outside I saw a Japanese girl wearing a yellow mini skirt, a matching yellow and hot pink spandex top, nylons, and lace up, knee high, stilletto sneakers. The whole ass grazing, gynecologically revealing skirt trend has not yet caught on in Paris. This tourist was the first woman I saw with a skirt cut above the knee. There she is, Paris in fall, walking into a famous gothic cathedral in stilettos without any self consciousness at all.
Before I go to Cluny, for I am on an enforced march of sight seeing, I go to a cafe and have cafe au lait and croissant. The criossant is nothing spectacular, but I smoke while I am eating. Instead of making me feel very parisian, ver sartre, it makes me feel like I am in an American diner in the 1950's. This might have to do with two young guys wearing all black, except for white socks, with the guitar smoking and drinking coffee in the corner.
Next door is a crepe stand that also sells hot dogs. Here is another picture I was I had taken. If you go to Paris, there are many places where you can buy hot dogs. Now, being a New Yorker, I just assumed it was a regular NYC sabrett's on a bun and I wondered who on earth came to Paris to buy a hot dog? But in Paris, as I observed, if you order a hot dog, the man takes half a baguette, cuts it in half, and places two hot dogs (end to end) inside. This is no way an endorsement. I didn't taste the hot dogs although I wondered what it tasted like on good french bread.
more to come...cluny..le jardin du luxembourg...the lost french men

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