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.
I love that Metropolitan station – so art noveau – it’s a classic. That is in Montmarte, yes?
The Metro entrance photo is Porte de Pantin in the 19th district. That’s one of the Hector Guimard designs. He did all of the entrances when they first built the system in 1900, so they are scattered throughout the city. I believe Paris took them all down and stored them for years then restored them and put them back up.
I love his work.
Do you know what struck me about this video?
Everyone looked so relaxed…I wait for a bus in boring old Seattle and you can see how people are tense or how they’re looking ahead but not really looking at anything.
You know, ” Oh God please stay away from me ” is the vibe.
I’ve heard a lot about Seattle, but never that it is boring. : )
This is an extremely typical day on the Metro. I’d taken a video of it but had so much trouble uploading it to Youtube that I caved and looked at about a million of them to find one to put up here. This line goes to an area that is not the safest in the city, Pigalle.
They take your cameras at concerts here too, Kitty. Doesn’t stop people filming the gig on their cell phone camera or taking photos on their cell phone camera, but it sure ensures the quality it crap.
– it crap
Makes that sentence make way more sense.
I considered editing this comment but what you did was too cute.
I’ve always loved that sign….
Don’t put your hands here, you will get a very hard pinch! Hehe. It’s right up there with Mind the Gap.
I miss Paris, but Africa was cool. We are booked for Japan in March of 2008 to see the cherry blossoms and celebrate K’s EARLY graduation from L’ecole, but if I can find a cheap weekend fare over the winter I am definitely going to take a short trip. It’s been far too long.
I am checking your blog for your Africa posts right now. LOL.
That Japan trip sounds fun, I have been wanting to go. Glad you are going to burn a trail there. Can’t wait to hear about that trip.
That metro sign reminds me of a couple I saw in Barcelona, I think. Been a while. In the new part of the city. The fact that they use a rabbit as the symbol of finger pinching cracks me up. So nice to hear the Parisian French in that video. It’s mellifluous.
Anita Marie – my mother once did a series of paintings of people waiting in line for buses. She took pictures first. She did that in Montreal and there everyone lines up neatly in lines (at least they did back then, been a while) and in order of arrival to the stop. The file on to the bus that way too. The paintings were interesting studies in social behaviour and I thought of them a lot because when I got to Vancouver I noticed, immediately that it was a free-for-all amorphous line-up and a crazy, elbows-up, bottle-neck to get on… So, I hear you about the impatience.
Interestingly enough, I guess, is that Montreal is a very French city.