Lately I have begun to suspect that all the sitting and pastry-eating I do during the week is starting to catch up with me, so on Saturday I decided to combine my weekly shopping with a nice walk through the center of Paris. After taking the metro to Sciences Po, I set off in the direction of one of the less classy shopping streets in Paris, Rue de Rivoli, which has not one, but two H&M’s!
As usual I saw some beautiful things along the way, the first of which was the former home of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, which is plastered with graffiti from his still-enthusiastic admirers:
A few minutes later I crossed the Seine over the Pont des Arts, which I had not seen since the city of Paris began to remove all the “love locks” from its railings last summer. Apparently all those locks were so heavy that the poor bridge was in danger of collapsing. It definitely looks a bit lighter now, without the weight of all those romantic dreams and expectations!
When I reached the other side, I was struck by how high the Seine was; it was close to spilling over its lower banks. This reminded that Paris is due for its “once in a century” flood (the last one was in 1910) which could impact half a million homes, cost billions of dollars in damage, and (my favorite) submerge the metro and flush all the metro rats out into the streets. I just hope I happen to be away that day!
Luckily it didn’t seem like a catastrophic flood was in the cards at the moment, so I was able to shop in peace. The Hôtel de Ville was looking especially nice, so I took a picture as well:
But the highlight of the day was definitely the one-man comedy show that I watched with Kwame at the Théâtre des Nouveautés, called “How to be Parisian in One Hour“. My friend Mikhail recommended the show to me over a year ago, so I was really excited to finally see it.
Even though it dealt with Parisian stereotypes that I am pretty familiar with by now, I still found it very funny, and it was cool to be part of such a diverse audience; more than half seemed to be French, and the rest were from places as far flung as Tanzania, Venezuela, and Pakistan. I don’t want to give too many of the jokes away, but you can watch part of the show here (and learn how to be a Parisian in a shop, specifically one of the H&M’s on Rue de Rivoli where I spent my afternoon haha!):
Afterwards, Kwame and I took some pictures, including a couple with the comedian, Olivier Giraud, himself:
After all this comedy I was pretty hungry, so we got some gelato from Amorino. For a normal person this would have been enough, but as we approached Châtelet I realized I had an overwhelming urge to eat pizza, and specifically the kind of pizza that one can only find at that venerable American fast-food chain, Pizza Hut. So Kwame very kindly accompanied me while I ate a late dinner at Pizza Hut and I have to say that we definitely were not alone. That place was full to capacity, and not just with Americans, but with actual French people (clearly they had not seen “How to be Parisian in One Hour”, or they would know that they weren’t being very good Parisians :P). It just goes to show that wherever you come from, it is very difficult to resist those late-night cravings for pizza!