Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saint-Germain Sunday

Even the babies in St-Germain des Prés pay homage to the famous philosophers of the quartier.  Dress your child in very expensive onesies so they too can grow up to be Simone de Beauvoir or Jean-Paul Sartre.  It's been a long time since this was the center of the intelligentsia, although there are still a number of publishing houses nearby and a nice café, lined with book-filled walls, called Les Editeurs to commemorate them. More prevalent now and for the last few decades are upscale designer boutiques and wealthy tourists, Italians, Americans, Japanese, in search of clothes and housewares.

There has been for many years a man who moves throught the streets of Saint-Germain selling newspapers, an odd way of making a living since there are several very well supplied news kiosks in the area.  Nonetheless he's been here a long time and is a fixture, to the point that a couple of years ago someone painted his portrait, wearing his distinctive cap, on a billboard overlooking one of the intersections.  There's a bit of graffiti on it but for the most part it remains untouched by vandals or advertising companies.  Redundant, I know, but you know what I mean.

A small street off the very busy intersection of rue de Buci, rue Dauphine and rue Mazarine has become the de facto parking for all two-wheeled transport in the area.  Since it's a no car parking street, the city has taken the opportunity to fill it with Velib bikes, thus avoiding the need to eliminate car parking spaces on other streets to provide the public bikes.  Motorbikes also seem to have colonized the same block.  Very few unused spaces on a busy Saturday night; people are coming into the area, not leaving it.  The bars, restaurants and streets are jam-packed in the lovely weather.

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