I never managed entirely to shed the sore throat and cough I picked up on the way to San Francisco, and this weekend I managed to lose my voice nearly completely. As we spent Saturday evening in a noisy café where a friend was playing guitar and singing, I wound up spending Sunday in bed, voiceless. Gene, oddly enough, had no problem with not hearing my dulcet tones for 24 hours. Go figure.
Although we've had a series of mostly sunny days, today started out damp and continued to rain off and on. We walked through some of the smaller streets of the neighborhood marveling at how quiet they were on a weekday morning.
Peering into courtyards and looking up at rooftops, we're reminded again how many lives are lived outside the view of others here.
If you were to look only at the closed streetfront doors and shop windows you would have little idea of the many ways people live in Paris. Look at those enormous studio windows visible only from the street directly opposite. What must it be like to live up there? Probably quite different from the traditional apartments opening on the courtyard behind the iron latticed door.
Or maybe not. We've been in very contemporary spaces transformed within their original 18th or 19th century buildings. It's always a pleasure to get a glimpse of the living fabric of the city in this way.
Another thing you run into on these smaller streets, where shop signs and restaurant frontages don't obscure the small things, are old or odd signs. The one above is for a security company that once (maybe still?) secured the building to which it was affixed. And across the street is this nameplate, with no explanation:
This turns out, upon Googling, to be an association offering classes on all things Chinese, from language to martial arts.
It's this kind of aimlessness, boring maybe, that fills our days. I love nothing more than to come across something like this storefront, apparently unchanged for generations:
And of course the others, changing with the times, like the Mariage Frères shop around the corner, which now offers De-Stress Tea in a Zen Box and if your stress level is already low, Beautiful Tea in a Happy Box.