After a very relaxed Saturday morning of oatmeal-eating and talking on the phone with my dear friend Sofia (who’s finally back from her internship in Peru!), I decided to head out in search of some sort of culture-related activity to do – a pretty easy task in Paris! On my way down the spiral staircase of the Maison de Norvège, where I have lived for the past two years, I started to feel a bit sad that I’ll be leaving this cute little slice of Norway in a week and a half (they politely ask you to leave once you’re no longer a student haha!) I won’t necessarily miss the shared bathroom or the perpetually dirty kitchen, but as a student it was really the perfect living situation for me.
I got off the Metro at St. Michel-Notre Dame and headed in the direction of the Marais (I wanted to go to the HEMA there to do some shopping :P). I have probably gotten off at St. Michel hundreds of times by now, but I still managed to find a few streets that I had not meandered down before, including this one with a tiny Canadian bookshop!
Luckily my wanderings took me past the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a museum that I have been meaning to visit for a very long time. Now that I am at the ripe old age of 25, I need to visit as many museums as possible – the student discounts end when you turn 26 – so this was my chance!
Each of the museum’s exhibitions were devoted to Brazilian photography and featured three Brazilian photographers – Joaquim Paiva, Celso Brandão, and Vik Muniz – and one French photographer – Marcel Gautherot – who lived and worked in Brazil for most of his life. While they were all excellent, my favorite by far was Muniz, who uses unconventional materials such as toys, ripped-up magazines, and spaghetti (?) to recreate famous images, which he then photographs before destroying the original.
I was shocked by how empty the museum was (is this not a typical way to spend a Saturday afternoon?), but I was definitely not complaining! Each of the remaining artists had their own distinctive styles that really came through in their photographs, and it was fun to take my time to study each and every one. I always think its amazing that, using essentially the same tools, great photographers somehow manage to translate a little piece of themselves – or at least their aesthetic, perspective or beliefs – into the resulting image. It is really pretty magical!
After my museum experience I went home to have some dinner, before meeting my friends Clémence, Mathilde and Eva for drinks by the Seine! Eva suggested a very hip place called La Javelle, which featured a live Brazilian band (I was clearly having a very Brazil-themed day), a huge bar, and plenty of food trucks.
We ended up splitting a bottle of rosé to start and had some freshly-baked pizza not long after (which was delicious!) It was a bit cold – I swear we have yet to have a proper, sustained summer this year – but it was so nice to relax and chat with one another outside of work. I feel very lucky to have befriended so many awesome young women (and a handful of men, although they’re very hard to find!) at UNESCO. Together we form a very eclectic, multi-lingual family, which is a big part of what makes my job – and my life in Paris – so much fun!