Two million two hundred forty thousand six hundred twenty-one Parisians share a territory of 105.4 square kilometers, the equivalent of the entire population of Montreal regrouped in the eastern part of the city between Pie IX Boulevard and the tip from the island. Already very dense, Paris welcomes every day millions of people coming to work, study or just a visit.
Parisians’ weeks are stressful and it’s not hard to understand why: promiscuous, crowded public transit, long workdays, gloomy weather, cramped apartments, few parks … In short, nothing to smile about from Monday to Friday.
And then comes Friday night, the time to meet with friends for a few drinks or enjoy a head-to-head with your partner. For Parisians, the best way to spend Saturday morning is to travel by train or plane to another European city or simply to Normandy. Unfortunately this is not always possible, instead, Parisians sleep-in: the streets are practically empty before 10:30 AM !
While the city wakes-up gently, Parisians gradually gather in parks and sidewalk cafes. When the weather is good, they take their children riding their little scooters to the park or take Fido out for a stroll. Meanwhile, the most politicised citizen among us, will take part in one of many demonstrations on Place de la République.
With no yard to maintain, small grocery stores close-by and small apartments which cuts down on cleaning time (when it is not downright done by someone else), weekends in Paris used to relax, unwind after a big week.
I feel that Parisians really take the time enjoy the weekend and take a real break, it seems as if they feel no guilt in being idle. Not being idle, would be a terrible faute de goût ! While I was still living in Montreal, I had a more utilitarian vision of the weekend. We took the time off to do yard work, run errands, assist someone in the family … And as I write these words, I realise that this is partly false because we also used our weekends to go camping in the woods North of Montreal or to spend time at our cottage.
Maybe the real difference lies in the feeling of communion between the Parisians who enjoy together the sun shining while Montrealers enjoy themselves seperately? In any case, this blog post was the opportunity to show you some pictures of my weekends in eastern Paris at the Parc des Buttes Chaumont and at the Canal Saint-Martin :).