Sunday in Paris

December 05, 2005

Having arrived last night and worked till half into the night, got up early enough for breakfast, and then headed off into the gloomy morning.

Weather not too good, overcast with occasional showers but still walkable outside. First task was to find the conference venue to know where to come tomorrow and that went OK. Then thought of heading into the town by metro but since the weather was not too bad, a walk can often provide you so much more so why not walk… down the alleys and boulevards up to Arc de Triomphe.

Strolled the stores on Champs-Élysées. The Virgin Megastore is kinda more grand than in London – great staircases, views across the atrium, wooden furniture, much more books… but then again, everything was in French so I couldn’t read half of the things.

Then on to the park. This is where the fun started. The weather still sucked but there was this crazy Spanish woman with her daughter in one of the park kiosks selling hot dogs and sodas who didn’t seem to mind the weather or anything at all – they had their radio shouting some Spanish folk songs which she loudly sang along while drumming on the counter and waiting for my hotdog to cook. That was one of those moments where you really can draw energy from the people around you even if you’re down a bit yourself.

On to the Madeleine. Strange how I had been to that spot before but never realized it was a church. It certainly doesn’t look like one. There was some procession ongoing. Even though not horribly religious, I enjoy going to churches on trips – they give a reason/justification to pause, stop and contemplate about whatever is on your mind currently.

At the Printemps store windows, there was a puppet theatre with a family of pink bears reading books, knitting, kicking each other and doing whatever else. That was kinda cute. Originally they looked like robots, but upon closer inspection you could see the thin wires running down from somewhere at the top and moving the objects and animals around with great precision.