|Notre Dame from a different perspective|
c. Maria Aragon
Spring is the season when everything Parisian moves outdoors. Paris is a very public city, a world designed to look outwards, onto the streets. We need look no further than the way the chairs in the cafés are organized — they look out at the world, primed for Parisians to pursue their favorite activity: watching each other as they parade in the sun. And Spring is the moment when all these rituals begin again, the pétanque sets are taken out of the cupboard, the vélib subscriptions are renewed, the nights begin to grow longer and the days lazier.
|Jardin des Plantes|
c. Maria Aragon
That said, I can’t resist sharing just one thing those of us who don’t belong find difficult about Paris in Spring time. As is so often the case in Paris, it’s one of those things that is both its seduction and a difficulty to be negotiated. On the terraces of every café in town, the Parisians no longer huddle under the heat for the length of time it takes to smoke a cigarette. Like us, as I say, they sit for hours on the terrace, enjoying the sun. Thus, like so many of the joys of Paris, sharing the terraces with the Parisians comes at a cost: coffee and drinks comes with the complimentary cloud of second hand smoke. For as long as we sit, the men and women fill the air with smoke, sucking in the pleasures of nicotine and tobacco as they discuss business as well as their social lives on their cell phones. Still, sitting next to the smoking Parisians for an hour or so beats standing in line at Notre Dame surrounded by tourists – at least the discomfort can be justified as being a part of the fantasy.