One of the many things I loved about Paris was how literary the city is. It’s been the setting and subject of countless novels, and it’s the home of many great names in literature and philosophy. It’s an inspiring place to be, with plenty of literary sights to see. One a more day-to-day level, it’s also a city of people who love to read. Bookshops are everywhere, and people are always reading, in parks, on the metro, in cafés. Some of you might think this unremarkable, but I thought it was pretty cool; in South Africa (and more so in Ethiopia) reading isn’t quite as popular, and you won’t see that many people reading in public. As a result, Paris made my book-lover’s heart thump with pleasure 🙂
So I thought I’d share a few more book-related pics.
The Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) outside the Louvre is full of exquisite sculptures based on mythical figures:
My boyfriend loves the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, so one of our early stops was for a light breakfast at Café de Flore, where Sarte, Simone de Beauvoir, and other intellectuals used to hang out and write.
I highly recommend their delicious hot chocolate (their own special blend, according to the menu). However, I do not recommend having more than a drink and a pastry there – the café is very much an overpriced tourist attraction, with the brusque, impatient service that seems to characterise touristy restaurants (people in less touristy places were usually very friendly). Next door is a souvenir shop with prices so ludicrous we didn’t even go inside.
One of the nicest things to do in Paris is relax in one the many beautiful parks with a good book:
There aren’t really any public parks in Addis Ababa and and the city is almost devoid of natural beauty, so I really appreciated this simple pleasure. The parks of Paris are perfectly maintained, and at this time of year they were all a stunning, lush green.
If I lived in Paris and spoke French, I would undoubtedly spend many Saturday or Sunday afternoons browsing the second-hand book stalls along the Seine:
Of course, I had to get a few bookmarks. This yellow one is from Centre Pompidou, and is based on the design of the building.
I also bought a few bookmarks showing details from classic artworks:
From the left: Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix, bought at the Louvre; Nymphe les bras levés by Adolf de Meyer, bought at Musée de l’Orangerie; Soleil couchant by Claude Monet, also from Musée de l’Orangerie, where you can view Monet’s Water Lilies, an utterly amazing series of works.