13.09.2013 21 °C
Gil: This is unbelievable! Look at this! There's no city like this in the world. There never was.
Inez: You act like you've never been here before.
Gil: I don't get here often enough, that's the problem. Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the '20s. Paris in the '20s, in the rain. The artists and writers!
Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What's wonderful about getting wet?
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Its been raining non-stop for a week. I hid away for the first day, but then eventually had to give in and walk around Paris in the rain. Like Inez, I never understood why it was fun to get wet walking around a city. I've begun to realise though that the city is just that little bit less crowded when its raining, there is a shroud of mist around bridges and churches, which can make for atmospheric, if difficult to photograph images. And it smells less (face it, Paris is an old city). I'm coming around to this whole rain thing.
I've visited lots of markets - St Germain, Madeline & the Rue Mouffetard food market. It occurs to me that as space is at a premium here, there is a great value attached to public and open spaces. People congregate in squares and parks for a smoke or a glass of wine. University students grab lunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Most parks in Paris also have wi-fi , which means its not uncommon to see office workers using their laptops on a park bench during their breaks. While there are the big chain supermarkets, the local market is still where most Parisians buy their food. Organic & locally produced food doesn't seem to be a trendy thing ( like Middle Park, for example) , it's just the norm. And it's a lot more interesting & communal than the suburban lifestyle of driving to Coles, buying everything in the one place and then driving back home. Also a lot yummier, I've averaged one chocolate eclair a day so far.
I'd like to hope that the future of public space in Melbourne will derive from what's happening here rather than the commercially invented spaces we see all around us. No hard concrete or seat blocks in the scorching sun with no protection. A row of chairs by a river, where everyone can sit down and read a paper or surf the net. That sounds much more fun to me!
I'm off to Berlin this weekend, and more rain. Woo!