A plan to visit the Musee Carnavalet was cancelled when I visited the website and found the museum is closed for renovations. However, you can do a virtual visit, which I will save until I’m home and able to use a screen larger than that of my phone.
Instead, it was a quiet day. An exhibition of photographs in the Jardin du Luxembourg impressed me.
As with the tapestries, I looked at the each photo as the photographer might have done. What was he seeing? What did it say? What does it say to me? With these two photos my experience of Paris helped me to consider what it is like to live here surrounded by massive walls of stone and history. How does that affect our relationship to the environment and how is our identity changed by what has gone before?
The first photo is composed of a wall with a slice of sky visible. The second, dominated by massive columns, shows a metal chair diminished by distance and a partly obscured person. A window is shadowed on a wall.
The young photographer spoke enthusiastically to me about photographing in Africa and South Korea and how those places have altered his perceptions of the world and his/our place in it. Spiritual insights were part of these transforming experiences. He liked how spiritual life was linked to the natural environment and open and visible in these countries, not shut in by stone walls as it is here as if to exclude.
Back to the mundane: I sat in the garden reading and eating a cinnamon cream filled eclair – beautifully wrapped – from my favourite artisan boulangerie, from which I have bought only savoury breads and quiches, until now. I wondered what the joggers made of my choice as they wobbled past.
A flat white – the first I’ve had while away – was available at a little Salon de Cafe nearby.
Then I retreated to read in the comfort of my first floor room where, with the window open, I could hear chatter from the street below and see people going by, parents with children, a few cars and scooters; everyday life for the people who live here.
These living streets are what our city council would like, to bring the inner city of Christchurch to life. Businesses on the ground floor and living above. These apartments are on five floors with dormers making an additional sixth floor. And there’s that slice of sky.
I was disconcerted by news of a 4.1 tremor at home. What would that sort of event do to this street?
How will I adjust to going home?
Increasingly, my lack of conversational French is frustrating and it will be a relief to talk freely again as I was able to do with the photographer this morning who, thankfully, spoke English. A conversation on that level is not possible otherwise.
I’ve printed my boarding passes.
One day left in Paris.