15.10.2015 - 15.11.2015
Every neighborhood in any city has its own unique atmosphere. My temporary home in Paris is no exception. I currently live on the western edge of the 4th arrondissement in an area known as Beaubourg, a short block away from Paris's town hall which is housed in the building known as L'Hotel de Ville. There are busy shopping streets such as the Rue de Rivoli and Boulevard de Sebastopol that criss-cross the area. But if you turn off the main streets, there are dozens of tiny, winding walkways to explore. There are fun boutiques to discover as well as endless cafes. The Hippy Market is a second-hand shop I stumbled across on one of my walks.
The most popular destination in the area is the Pompidou Center, a modern art museum named after Georges Pompidou which is most famous for its controversial architecture. It was designed to be inside out. All of the escalators, elevators, and normal building innards are on the outside of the structure. I find the adjacent square and Stravinsky Fountain far more interesting. Named after the composer Igor Stravinsky, colorful sculptures by the artist Niki de Saint Phalle and her husband sit in the water surrounded by the fountain. If you listen, the water emerging from each sculpture is supposed to sound like a Stravinsky composition!!!! Behind the Fountain stands the St. Merri Church which dates back to the 1500s. Catty-corner to the church is a huge mural called Chuuuttt!Ssshhh! I love the juxtaposition of old and new here. The artwork and sculptures side by side with a gothic church just makes me smile.
There are two cafes where you can sit across from the Stravinsky Fountain and enjoy the view. One is Dame Tartine which has reasonable prices with good food and blackboard specials every day. The other is Creperie Beaubourg which not only serves crepes, but omelettes and salads, as well. If you desire a glass of wine, Dame Tartine is the place to go since the Creperie only serves coffees and soft drinks.