letter five to gioia: sous le ciel de paris

ma chère,

what is it about paris that makes it so wonderful? every time i’m here, i feel like i’ve stepped into a different world – a world full of rows and rows of beautiful buildings, baguettes and spots that seem to invite people to just sit and savor the atmosphere. we, that’s julia, daniela, alina et moi (and louanne, when we’re lucky enough to have her joining us), have been doing just that.

after eating breakfast (consisting of baguette and cheese, of course) in our apartment with the loveliest courtyard ever, we’ve been wandering the many streets of paris, cameras in our hands, sketchbooks in our backpacks, ready to be taken out at the next opportunity. and believe me, there have been countless opportunities, mostly accompanied by coffee and some sort of sweet patisserie.

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the days are already blending into each other in my head with different highlights here and there, so excuse me if my retelling is a little bit jumbled. one of my favorite moments of the last few days was walking along the promenade plantée, a 4.7 long walkway in the middle of the city that follows the old vincennes railway. parts of it are elevated, making it the perfect place to spot a glimpse of other people’s apartments, other parts lead through overgrown tunnels covered in graffiti below street level.

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seeing rhodes play at la maroquinerie definitely also makes the cut for best moments so far. he was breathtaking, as expected, and apart from blowing my and louanne’s mind once again, also sang his way into alina, daniela and julia’s hearts. yesterday evening, alina and i made our way to the same venue again, this time to see the paper kites. not as breathtaking, but equally lovely, it’s another night to remember.

there’s so much more i could tell you, but paris is beckoning and i haven’t even written one word about the book. alors, le livre. i’ve been enjoying it, but not much more, to be honest. although certain things have made me laugh, there are other things that i think are supposed to make the reader laugh that seem a bit too obvious or plump to me, e.g. the alien’s attempts to adjust his language to his son’s. and then there’s the beginning. the alien is supposedly super intelligent (he learns english by reading a few words of cosmopolitan, right?), but it takes him ages to realize that everybody else is not walking around naked, but in fact wearing clothes.

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haig touches a few points that i find really interesting and that have potential for further elaboration, for instance when the alien is watching the news and remarks on humans not caring about any other species. however, that’s all he does; he takes up the issue briefly, but then goes straight on to another subject, a more – in my opinion – obvious one. i’m not saying that humanity’s liability to violence and greed is something that wouldn’t stand out to an alien, i just think it’s something that’s been discussed a fair few times in literature..

don’t get me wrong, it’s a light read and perfect for times like these, but i don’t think it’ll be a book that sticks with me for long. but who knows, we still have quite a few pages to go, maybe i’ll be saying something completely different at the end of february.

alrighty, my dearest (famous-people-meeting) gioia, i’m off to discover further streets of pariiiiiiiis.

yours,

rahel

 

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