Monday, June 16, 2008

Sundays with Richard and Polly -- on Friday

When Richard and I realized that all Sundays in June were too busy for Sundays with Richard and Polly, we had to relent and switch the date to a Friday. Rescheduling our Paris duo adventure on a weekday did open up possible venues in terms of commercial settings, since Paris stores, for the most part, are not open on Sundays.

We agreed to meet on the rooftop terrace of Le Printemps. It's a worthwhile place to go -- a free panorama of the city on the ninth floor of the department store. And there is a cafeteria-style restaurant with so-so food. (I recommend it more for teatime rather than lunchtime. Can't go wrong with tea.)

But pun-lover that I am, I do adore the name: Déli-Cieux, crossing the English word deli with the French word cieux (skies) to equal the French word délicieux, or delicious. So clever.

As we wandered around the rooftop, there was no shortage of photo-ops. Monuments, magnificent vistas, the regular scenario. But there is an addtional benefit to this vantage point. At just-above-rooftop level, you witness a Paris unattainable from either the street level or the top-of-the-Eiffel level. The attics and roofs of Paris, up close.

First, the mannequin across the street mooning us.

Next, the realization that not all chambres de bonne are rented out to impoverished students. These were stockpiled with boxes and papers.

But, more resounding for me, Paris.

So much Paris.

I look at these rooftops, these chimneys. And unexpectedly, a strong emotion -- I can only call it Paris love -- wells up from deep inside. Just look at this city. All the mass of humankind, the multitude of lives: their stories, loves, heartaches, and daily doldrums or joys, in all these buildings, under all these roofs, as far as the eye can see. It's the same pining feeling I get on a plane when slowly gliding in for an airport landing, and I peer out the window at all the houses below so vivid and visible, and wonder, "What is happening in that house right now? And that one? And that one?"

So much humanity, looking out over the rooftops of Paris.

Read Richard's view of the rooftop afternoon here.


Isabelle said...

About a month ago I did take the same trip as you on the 9th floor of Le Printemps, for the 1st time in my life. The view is absolutely breathtaking, particularly on Montmartre which looks so different from that angle.
Too bad that the restaurant looks so cheap (although I don't think that the prices are cheap!), this spot deserved a better treatment to my point of view!

Susan B said...

We discovered the cafe at Printemps last year wholly by accident, but it was one of the best "accidents" during that trip! The views are spectacular, and some of my favorite pics of the city were taken from there.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

It is great, and worthy of bettert better food. That's why I like just tea time there.

But it is nice that you can go there even if you're not eating.

P.S. Let me know if you have any troubles loading Richard's blog. My computer won't load his home page... says "Program not responding" no matter where I click on his link. Or maybe someone can explain to me why his is the only site in the blogosphere my PC can't access this week.

Evelyn said...

I, too, love the rooftops of Paris and took several photos from the window of my Paris rental apartment the last time I was there. I think the terra cotta chimney pots are just fascinating! I was enjoying that rooftop view one morning when I noticed a window open that had not been before. Lo and behold...there was someone taking a shower! I could only see from the shoulders up but Madame X was washing her hair! Ooh la la!!

Anne said...

I'm having the same problem with Richard's blog. It locks up my computer. It didn't do this a few weeks ago.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great post! One of my earliest memories of France, probably in the summer after 7th grade, is drinking Coke on the roof of Printemps, how fun!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

I love the rooftops of both Printemps and Galeries Lafayette -- so easy to pop up to the top floor.

And also the rooftop of l'Institut du Monde Arabe on the Left Bank, for a different view, and with great cuisine.

Good technological news is that Richard fixed the pesky widget that was blocking Internet Explorer users, so now you can visit his site without the meltdown...

Christina said...

Last year, I spent 4 months in Paris under the pretense of learning the language a la Sorbonne, but really, I just went to live it. I miss it more than anything, and I honestly can't believe it's been over a year since I caught le Metro or walked through les jardins du Luxembourg.

She covered me, loved me, and then kept a part of me when I flew back. Seeing your pictures makes a part of me swell with joy and longing. Oh, I do miss it.

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