Okay, as promised, a little bit on Parisian sounds.
Paris is called the City of Lights. It’s a reference to many things, one being the Lumiere brother’s first public showing of moving pictures. But mostly it’s because the city doesn’t sleep (I think New York City already has that title). So if you have a room in Paris that is on the street side (versus the back, or garden side) and it is summertime, you aren’t going to get any sleep. Most hotels do not have air conditioning, so your windows will be open or you will suffocate.
It is noisy.
Mostly with buzzing cars and motorbikes. I don’t know why they are so loud, but they are and when the traffic is light at night, they rev those little engines to go faster. It reminds me of bees, multiplied by about a thousand. I’m a heavy sleeper, so I can do streetside. I like waking up to the street sounds of Paris.
Falling asleep in Paris, you’ll hear people walking below, heeled footsteps, and often singing. People in Paris love to sing.
Speaking of singing and sound, we did catch a My Chemical Romance concert at Le Zenith. It was the only concert of theirs we have gone to that was exclusively theirs (versus a festival), so we got to hear them for two full hours versus about 30-45 minutes.
We were shocked when we got to the arena because it was so small and the upper levels were curtained off. There were only about two to three thousand people there. Unheard of. It was like having our own private show. Anyone was allowed to go into the pit and the French didn’t crowd us. Or mosh. Or throw bottles. Quite a pleasant experience. It is no doubt the best show I have ever been to or will probably ever see.
They played every song from The Black Parade in the order that they are on the CD. They also wore those marching band costumes and called themselves “The Black Parade” during that half of the concert. They even played some B-sides from that album. After that, they said they were leaving, that their friends “My Chemical Romance would be out to play some old school stuff, if you’re into that kind of shit.” While they went backstage to change, a lot of people got confused and thought the concert was over. So while they leaving, we were able to inch closer to the stage. MCR came back and those suckers lost their places.
I know. Where are the photos? Well. Those bastards at the Zenith confiscated every camera and held them until the concert was over. Zenith’s policy, not MCR’s. I am bitter about that, bitter. My best opportunity for some amazing concert photos and, fuck, no camera.
Life is funny isn’t it?
You’ll just have to settle for Metro (subway) photos. There are lots of adverts on the walls which Parisians frequently complain about. Most of the time they are entertaining and tastefully done. This is Paris, they lead the world in taste.
The Metro is one of my favorite things about Paris. It’s been around for about a hundred years. It’s hard to imagine people zipping around town in these underground tunnels 100 years ago. These days it takes minutes to cross town in this thing. Above ground it doesn’t seem to take more than a five minute walk from anywhere in Paris to get to a Metro entrance.
The tickets are only about $1.30 each if you buy them in books of ten. Considerably cheaper than London’s underground which is about $6 per ticket. Both are even cheaper for the locals who get Carte Orange (Paris) or the Oyster card (London). Tourists can get them, but station agents are reluctant to sell them to visitors.
I have always loved this warning sticker in the Metro cars.
Wait, wait. This one too. I am a sick puppy. But hell, if you fall on the tracks I might save your ass.
Here’s a video of what it is like to walk through the Metro tunnels and ride the trains under Paris. It was done by some Parisians so you can hear their lovely voices and laughter.
I hope you watch it.
Here is a drawing in the guestbook at the home where we stayed just a few miles outside of Paris. A guest from Denmark or Holland did this with an ink pen. Amazing.