sabato 12 settembre 2009

My Saturday in Paris - experimental

The last thing I did today was to get some dirt in order to cover up a geranium branch that I found fallen from a windiw in avenue de Choisy yesyerday. A burial, indeed, but one which gives life and new dignity to this fallen geranium. I will call him Jon or Edmond, or Egmont. I am happy we are two in this room, now. He is happy and red, and promising. Before that I was at the Panthéon, and precisely in rue de la Montaigne de Sainte Geneviève, where I spotted a Tibetan restaurant - well, we think a lot on Tibetans, but not that they eat something that they are used to prepare themselves - this is why I got surprised to find that restaurant, probably. Before that I was in a record-shop, open at 10 pm, full of dear old stuff, especially classical and jazz. The owner was dressed as cyclist and just come back from a 210 km tour until the (northern French) sea. He was making jokes at me, a bit blutantly, so that I was happier before, when I discovered a café called La Méthode just in rue Descartes and I saw a young lady making jokes with her friends. It emanated a sense of enthousiasm and life, and I felt part of all that, part of the young ladies smiling and of the love and tenderness of couples in the underground, who kiss themselves while waiting for the station to come. Why was I there at that time? Well, because I headed off for the Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève, in search of some notions. Well, it is a very wonderful place, with insertions of green leather at the walls, with fresques, statues, old woodden tables and green lamps - I found it touching that they did that just beside the Panthéon, so that this place stays living and full of thoughts and studies, albeit turistic and institutional, too. Most wonderfully, libraries in Paris tend to stay open late at noght, expressely to permit to those who work to read if they wish. This is a sign of great civilization. Still, you might not borrow books. Imagine a British library which closes at 10 pm, indeed. On the other hand, some libraries are not that "democratic" i.e. you need to belong to some schools in order to be admitted (to read books!), or, as an alternative, you do not belong to the school but someone swears you need that library for your studies, so a derogation is made. The library Sainte Genévève derives from the collections af the Abbé of Sainte Geneviève, whose chourch is there, still, white, wonderfully intricated and happily medieval. On Sundays, there is something else open: the library on the Centre Pompidou, whose conception, modern and efficient (close to the conception of Sormani library in Milan, whereas S. Geneviève would be more like the Brera library) is suits the average student better. There, it is all open-shelf, but what is most remarkable is the shifting of point of view in the creation of the idea of "public". In fact, ther eyou have a collection of French literature translated in other languages ( a very smart way to give diffusion to French literature indeed!), a very large platform for language-learning (including French for foreigners!) and a space where you cann see television from all over the world: CNN, CCTV (China), RaiUno, BBC, BBCworld and so on. All that because the National Library is closed until 20th September for holiday. ZUT!

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