Goodbye Paris

What would you do in the City of Light?

Breaking a Leg in Paris

It’s been a very busy few weeks in Paris. Today, I rode my velib bike home from the Opéra past the Louvre and across the Seine.

Velib at the Louvre

I rode my velib bike past the Louvre and across the Seine.

This is the Best Way to See Paris

I once rode a bike through Chicago for a weekend and thought it was the best way to see a city. You connect with the city in a way that’s totally different from driving or walking, more real somehow, more risky, and definitely more fun.

The best part about the velib bikes in Paris (velib, by the way, is short for bike free) is that you don’t have to pay a lot of money to rent them. Like New York’s city bikes, you just show up to a station, pay a few bucks on your credit card, and then ride your bike to a station near your destination.

It’s fast, it’s easy, and yes, it really is the best way to experience Paris.

Performing in Paris

Last week, you gave me two challenges to accomplish in Paris:

  1. Sell Your Masterpiece. Visit an art supply shop, and buy some watercolors and quality paper. Paint some yourself and let your son paint too. Then head over to the Pont des Arts and set up a crate or table and try to sell them! via Dan Knight
  2. Shadow a Street Performer. Become a street performer at Notre Dame. First, you have to meet the current street performers and learn their trade. They are the main character and you are the sidekick learning from their expertise. Are they just homeless bums who beg? Or are the experts in their craft? Do they struggle to just get a few pennies or do they make serious bank off their entertainment? Why do they do it? At the same time, overcome your “writer self” and put yourself out there to perform… be watched, be criticized, be viewed by people who don’t know who you really are and are just judging their perception of you. via Laura Jacobs

These adventures were the hardest yet. First of all, the chances of me creating a masterpiece is about the same as if a monkey was given a MacBook Air and told to re-create Shakespeare.

However, I did visit an art supply shop and I even connected with local artist Pauline Fraisse for her advice on painting in Paris. While it’s not a masterpiece I did paint something (Marston’s working on his, too!). It still needs just a bit of work, but the next step is to take it to Pont des Arts to see if it sells!

The Eiffel Tower from the Luxembourg Gardens

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Luxembourg Gardens

Street Performing Con Men 

Before this adventure was chosen, I was sitting in front of Notre Dame watching a street performer juggle a soccer ball. He was amazing. He kept it up perfectly on his feet, popped it up and balanced it on his nose, and then knocked it in the air, bent down and hooked under his shirt. For his finally, he held it tight with his ankle while he did a handstand.

So when the challenge came to shadow a street performer in Paris, I thought, “How fun would it be to shadow that guy?” I knew there were hundreds of street performer in Paris. What were the odds that I’d find that same guy?

I slowly started gathering information about the Paris Street Performance scene. Unfortunately, I realized the challenge was going to be harder than I thought. Street performers, whether mimes or musicians, are required to have a permit to perform in Paris, and to get the permit they have to demonstrate their performance in front of a council of judges. Needless to say, there was no chance I was going to get a permit.

scheming voltaire

A statue on my route to the Seine of Voltaire. Creeper?

But as I was doing my research, I found something, a website talking about a talented performer from Guinea who juggled a soccer ball. I looked at the photo. Was it him? Could it be? It was!

So I found him and I told him my plan, that I would hang out with him and learn some of his tricks, and then perform with him in front of Notre Dame.

“I can do that,” he said, “if you pay me.”

“Huh… okay. I might be able to do that. I think this could be really cool story. What would be a fair price to you?”

“I am willing to do this if you pay me 1,000 euro.”

“Um, no thanks.” Needless to say, I won’t be juggling a football in front of Notre Dame.

Still working on this one, so send some encouraging thoughts toward Paris for me.

View of the Opera

My Macbook charger broke and so today I walked past the Opera house on the way to the Apple Store. I want to go inside to see the ceiling painted by Chagall.

Tomorrow, we’ll pick a few more adventures. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of something we need to talk about soon!

Tripe

Is that what I think it is?

  • oddznns

    tripe;(?

  • Patience

    nice connection with local artist… and not bad impression of your own too… I had a portrait painted when I was in North of Wales in September last year and it has just arrived in the mail this week! Something special about the time it takes to do something with a deeper connection between expressive people.

  • Neil Bruinsma

    Love it Joe! Nice painting by the way!