There is always something going on in my new neighborhood. Granted, there was always something going on in the old one as well, but in that case my place was right in the middle of it all and I could not get away. Now, however, I can choose to participate. I can hear the distant sounds of activity in the main square from my living room, but I can either hide in my cozy enclave, or go out and become part of the scene. I am all about choice.
There are, as I see it (so far), three categories of “goings on” to which I am referring:
First, and most obvious, are the clichéd Parisian activities for tourists. This includes musicians on the metro, people pretending to be statues, etc. Luckily most of them ply their wares at the foot of Sacre Coeur or along the Champs de Mars (although there are enough wandering accordion players in this city to start their own small village – they are everywhere). Here we get a more eclectic sort, like the juggler above who took the time to smile for the camera while balancing a fishbowl and juggling bowling pins, all on one leg. Or this guy – who appeared to be doing a rain dance outside of a local bistro a few Friday nights ago. It worked. Unfortunately.
Next are the fun goings-on that are for the general amusement of locals and tourists alike. Or, more often, probably just for the fun had by the performers themselves. I count amongst these the small bands that set up on street corners during Sunday brunch, or the painters peering over their easel at the skyline of Paris as they try to capture its lines on canvas. This is a harder one to catch (or categorize) because, whether in it for themselves or not, there is always a case open or hat out to collect monetary tokens of appreciation. Coming out of the metro after my yard sale-ing adventures on Saturday, I followed this marching band up the street. I firmly believe that this group qualifies. They were having a great time and playing extremely well (the former band member in me geeked out a bit seeing the sheet music holders and sousaphones). Although they were turned towards an audience, this was not a means to a handout. They were having fun, no matter who heard them.
Last are objects I see on display around the neighborhood that I think of as permanent fixtures – of art and/or provocation – that draw me back time and time again in curiosity and contemplation. So far these are few and far between and mainly include the many masks I have seen protruding from the walls around Montmartre. I have seen several (all pictured here) and have been told that there are many more around. I’m going to try and collect them all.
While making sure to check out (and document here) all the other latest happenings, of course.
(Many thanks to the German for some of these photos!)