I am beginning to realize just how much I love living in a big city like Paris (particularly at a moment in my life when I have a fair amount of time on my hands). At any given moment, there are more possibilities of how to spend your time that you could imagine. Originally, this was a bit overwhelming for me. With so many interesting propositions I could hardly decide what to do. Often, I would do nothing or very little due to sheer overstimulation. But now, I am beginning to learn how to balance the millions of options and seize each moment. My schoolwork may be suffering a bit, but at least I am profiting from Paris.
My weekend started early when on Thursday night, I went to Le Roi Lion [The Lion King] with my friend Jamie. Arriving early to faire le queue [wait in line], we got discounted student tickets – a great price and great seats in the second row of the first balcony. I absolutely adored the production. The costumes and puppetry were truly amazing, and the songs were of course great. I really enjoyed listening attentively for the changes and adaptations in the French lyrics. In all, it was a pretty awe-inspiring performance, and I loved every minute of it.
Friday, I met up with my friend Rebecca and her friend’s friend to check out the free exhibit honoring Le Petit Nicolas at the Hôtel de Ville. Studying the original Sempé drawings and reading the accompanying texts was as entertaining as le petit Nicolas himself. It made me want to read more of the stories. We capped the afternoon off, enjoying the wonderful weather, by strolling around the Marais. We ended up at the Place des Vosges and decided to stop in the Victor Hugo house since we had never been. After dinner, I met up with another group from the Smith program to watch a new copy of Woody Allen’s Manhattan at one of my favorite tiny Latin Quarter theaters. We stopped at a cozy bar for drinks and conversation afterward.
I was determined to get some homework done Saturday so I hopped the RER down to Parc Montsouris where I grabbed a bench to do some reading. The weather was not as nice as I hoped, but the scent of nearly blooming flowers made up for it. Unfortunately, my solitude was interrupted by a well-meaning-enough old Frenchman who wanted to strike up a conversation with me (I have to admit that this sort of attention will not be missed when I return to the States).
When tiny droplets of rain began to fall from the already cloudy skies, I caught the tram to the Parc des expositions to explore the Salon du livre, a huge book and publishing exposition that lasted through the weekend. A number of authors and publishing companies were present for signings and conversations, but I mostly just reveled in the atmosphere of what seemed to me like a giant bookstore.
Saturday night was consecrated to Hitchcock. After seeing the poster Friday afternoon, I was quickly determined to attend a double feature of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-by-shot remake. My friend and Hitchcock-classmate Zoë came along (although she ended up missing the first film do to miscommunication), and we had quite a night of Hitchcock, including the lengthy discussion/question-and-answer session that followed the two films.
After an already eventful weekend, I was determined to make it to the Comédie Française on Sunday. I’ve been meaning to check it out for sometime, and it was the last week for Cyrano de Bergerac. I absolutely could not miss such a classic of French cultural history. Although I arrived over an hour early to wait in line for the discounted tickets, I merely missed out on my opportunity after waiting for half an hour in the wrong line. I luckily got a ticket. Unfortunately, my seat was in the second balcony, all the way to the left, making it possible to see only half of the stage. But with some creative standing/leaning/moving about, I could see more than was expected and, of course, I could hear it all. The performance was in turns hilarious and moving – altogether a thoroughly entertaining experience.
After taking the bus home, I finally retired myself for the evening to try to catch up on my work. But I can’t say I regret pushing it aside to take advantage of the many cultural experiences this city has to offer.