Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Sometimes it doesn’t need many words. Look at this: a regular January afternoon, the sun’s going down. It’s just an everyday moment, a common street scene you may often see in Paris, but it’s Paris at its best. Paris as we love it. The Paris I’m mad about.
Photo: © MAP
This photo is taken at the corner of rue de Bretagne and rue Vieille du Temple in the upper Marais, exactly there, where the latter cuts a very curious 45° angle in the urban fabric between rue de Turenne and rue de Bretagne. It’s a confusing angle (most of all for tourists), which only makes sense on winter days like this, when the sun is going down exactly here in the vanishing point of the road: here the day receives its honourable discharge.
It’s a miracle and it’s completely free of charge. Paris is beautiful, indeed, but the ephemeral beauty tops it all.
So, whom did we catch in this short moment at 4:48 pm today? In the foreground you see people on bikes, on motorcycles; a guy is crossing in the very middle of the crossroad where there’s no pedestrian crossing at all, his eyes fixed on his smartphone. It’s a man who apparently is not worried about the traffic leaping towards him, not worried about his life-expectancy at all. That’s how you do it in Paris: if you are lucky, the cars will stop or just circumvent you; if they don’t see you, well, they’ll just knock you down.
On the left side you see a beautiful mansion, which has been unoccupied for at least a decade. The city of Paris forced the owner, an elderly lady, to renovate and rent it out. But she is the boss of a huge alimentary factory producing uneatable meals – just like Monsieur Tricatel in the famous movie “L’ail ou la cuisse” with Louis de Funès. She is so very rich that she doesn’t need to rent it and therefore asked for an astronomical rent even by Parisian standards. The artists who squatted it for a while were chased out a long time ago.
And on your right, you see the famous Le Progrès, the epicentre of hipness, the place to be, where the Parisian actors, the real and the fake ones, come together for an apéro to wash down their melancholia.