Paris - Day 0.7-1.0

We walked in the general direction of Notre Dame, mesmerized by the beautiful Parisian streets.

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I recalled this line about German from Miland Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being - In Kant’s language, even”Good Morning,” suitably pronounced, can take the shape of metaphysical thesis.” This could be applied to the French of old TV magazines lying abandoned on Paris streets.

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As we got closer to Notre Dame, the buildings’ adornments became more detailed:

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Opposite Notre Dame is Shakespeare and Company - an old bookstore selling first and second-hand English books (estd. 1951 - which sounds relatively recent in the larger context of the city we were in, but still) . It was what all old bookstores are - a portal to a universe where time slows down.

This is the first time I encountered a water fountain of this quaint design:

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Coming from India, where you don’t trust the water from your kitchen’s tap, let alone a public fountain, we had a hard time convincing ourselves to fill our water bottle here.

Notre Dame was a beautiful giant with an insatiable appetite for tourists. But it was the refined appetite of a connoisseur, and the giant was in no hurry to bolt its food. The slow-moving serpentine queues of tourists are why we are keeping visits to insides of cathedrals and museums for the winter. Besides, I am sure on cold, short days, the promise of warmth indoors will render these places doubly inviting.

Outside Notre Dame is a patch of bushes where you can feed birds. It’s dominated by pigeons (surprise surprise!) and sparrows that are more than willing to eat out of your hands (in the most literal sense) as long as you hold still and present the illusion of being a statue for a short while.

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More walking and more gaping at the buildings like a bumpkin-seeing-a-city-for-the-first-time followed, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any grander, we found ourselves on the Rue de Rivoli:

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They tell you not to judge a book by its cover. I wonder if the adage would hold true for judging houses (palaces actually) by their doors:

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The courtyard of the Louvre has a row of tiny platforms for people to stand on and have their picture taken against the backdrop of the glass pyramid. Not everyone poses passively. I saw this gentleman give his all to his jump from the platform at least twice: one hopes he eventually got something for his Facebook page.

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I really wanted to visit the Apple store at the Louvre - nothing like a heady cocktail of history and 21st century consumerism. Now, according to Google Maps, the store was close to where we were standing, but we didn’t see anything remotely like it. We wondered if our empty stomachs were addling our brains. We trundled back to the nearest metro line and promised to visit again the next day.

September 11, 2011