The choice is ours

December 30, 2006

Straight outta Montparnasse

Filed under: News and Comment — shippingpal @ 5:46 am

I’m breaking radio silence for a quick word from Paris, where it is raining and kinda cold. Outside my window, there is a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower from a small terrace, though for the first three days the top of the tower was shrouded in fog. At night, it’s lit up and on the hour sparkles like a firework. Very charming.

Traveling solo, as I am, I haven’t been indulging in too much restaurant culture, but I must make mention of the Grande Epicerie de Paris, the most indulgent – and expensive – gourmanderie I’ve visited in some time; think a French version of Dean and DeLuca, in other words tons of foie gras and magret de canard, truffles and other extravagances. I’ve spent far too much time and money in that place of late, but it is only one of many attractions in the 7eme arrondissement and particularly the charming Rue de Sevres, a plethora of gastronomic pleasures. Also notable is the Centaure, a spectacular Cesar sculpture located at the point where Rue de Sevres becomes Rue de Four.

After standing in line for an hour to enter the Centre Pompidou on Thursday (ok, it was worth it for the Yves Klein show), I was in no mood to brave the even bigger crowds in front of the newly-opened Musee de Quai Branly, but walking around the parkland which surrounds it, I can testify that the building (by Jean Nouvel) is utterly brilliant. A recent sanctimonious article in the Globe claiming that Paris suffered a shortage of contemporary architecture should be officially retracted – Nouvel’s achievements alone at the Institute du Monde Arabe, the Fondation Cartier, and now the Musee de Quai Branly put the lie to the Globe’s claims; oh well, typical rhetorical devices that collapse on closer examination.

The 7eme arrondissement is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in a city full of beautiful places. It would be very easy to picture a pleasant life here, albeit one that requires about a million euros to buy a two bedroom apartment. Better start saving those pennies…

Currently reading: Generation Ecstasy (Simon Reynolds)

Currently hearing: Saharan Lounge (Putumayo)

Currently watching: Cidade Baixa (dir. Sergio Machado)

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