Friday was a rest day chez mois. Catching up with domestic chores, blogging, e-mails etc and resting generally since I have been walking far more than usual these last few weeks!
The weather forecast was for dull and chilly weather whereas it is due to get sunny and cold for the next few days so this seemed to be a good day for catching up.
Now, there is one aspect of Paris which I would like to share with you. Every time I have been down to the metro I have seen and heard wonderful music, all for free, unless one felt like giving something.
I don’t have a video camera here with me in Paris, but I assure you that I have seen sights like all these posted here.
The first time I encountered a solo musician on the metro I smiled with pleasure and he moved over and spent the rest of the journey playing beside me, for me, with a great grin on his face too. Of course I gave him some money! I presume that fiscal intent is the driving force but that does not exclude pleasure given and taken too.
I know that this is posted sideways but stick with it, it is such fun!
Quel joie de vivre! Often one finds some older person conducting: the first time I actually thought that a group had brought along their Professeur but actually members of the public seem to need to join in by conducting. These conducteurs seem dignified, professional and always retired: what previous career, or lack of, they are acting out remains a question of wonder. But they are never stopped, the group just continues placidly, pleasantly, playing along.
You cannot visit Paris and not feel vibrantly alive: wherever you go one or more of your senses is being stimulated! Being me, I keep having one of my ‘moments’: prickles go up and down my spine and I want to cry with the beauty of it. This unexpected, usually free, close contact with life enhancing elements which give great pleasure, is such a gift.
I find people so friendly, so interested in interacting, generally with time to stop and talk. You feel that life is for living, and work is a means to an end, not an end in itself. On the whole I do not get the impression that work is the reason for living. Enjoying all the gifts around us is more important.
Things are very expensive here, especially compared with the US. I notice that most young professionals seem to use the buses, metro or scooters, not many have cars. I like the idea that they will not work even harder to be able to afford all the extras, but insist on spending time with family and friends.
My tutor’s tiny flat, with the minimum of possessions is itself an object lesson. And she seems so happy with her life: evenings eating out and hanging out with her pals and country visits home to her parents when she wants a different quality of life. Therein lies a secret: city living in flats but with the older generation still often tied to the country. The population is less than the UK with a massively larger country and most people living around the edges. There is a huge expanse of thinly populated land in the centre of France. I need to investigate more exactly how this all works: on the surface at least this is so different to the UK’s stressed and rushed pace of life. But I am not so naive as to think that things are necessarily how they appear.