Where To Marry In Paris (Part 3)

(This is part 3 of 3; part 1 is here, part 2 is here)

We returned from Paris late Sunday evening (March 25th).

What remained was images, shreds of memories, and many of them, in spite of the short time we were there:

The Nautilus-like decoration of the Arts & Métiers subway station.

The American girl in the brasserie too close to the Eiffel tower (but we were too tired to go any further), shouting, “Sir, you’re from Philly, sir?” at an unsuspecting Frenchman wearing an Eagles cap.

The closed doors of the Fashion museum that we had wanted to visit after the Eiffel tower and lunch; apparently, the museum is now closed for visits altogether. We were lured to it by an entry in the Lonely Planet guide, promising “some 100,000 outfits and accessories from the 18th century to the present day”. Instead, we kept walking along the Seine to the Museum of Discovery (Palais de la Découverte), hoping to find traces there of the turn of the 19th century world exhibition that took place there in 1937. However, besides the building itself, very little reminded of that historic fact. The museum houses several themed exhibitions, some very entertaining (animals, visual tricks), some extremely boring. In the animal exhibition, a little rat was showing how it had been trained to run around in a maze and get a tasty snack at certain intervals. Somehow, that reminded me of our own wanderings across Paris.

The exquisite chocolate shop / patisserie of Sadaharu Aoki, where we stopped by Saturday afternoon. We stood there, paralyzed in front of a counter filled with little chocolaty works of art, that were being picked up by the shop assistant as if they were pieces of jewelry.

But the one thing that intrigued us the most, M. and me, happened when we were having lunch at the Brasserie Napoléon III (map: F). Following on a tip by a Paris-based blogger, we had first visited the Sunday market at the Place des Fêtes (map: E), where more fresh produce was on display that seems to reach Almelo over a whole year: all sorts of freshly baked bread, vegetables, fish, meat… After the market, we walked over to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont (map: D), which has been described as the Central Park of Paris. I don’t know about Central Park, but it certainly reminded me of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, with joggers far outnumbering regular walkers with a slower pace, and with the park being situated closely in between the city’s buildings. After having walked around the park and having tried to catch the scarce rays of sunshine on a bench overlooking the pond and the temple, we left the park and stumbled upon Napoléon’s brasserie. Run by a completely chaotic waiter who himself could easily pass for Napoléon’s descendant, going by his looks and his clothes.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont

It was too cold to sit outside, so we found a nice spot at the window-side, overlooking the park entrance. And there it happened: about halfway through our last Parisian meal, a stretched white limo stopped in front of the park. A Japanese bridal couple got out. Accompanied by several other people who had emerged from the limo and other cars following it, they entered the park: he in a shiny black suit, she in a white dress with endless layers of lace or whatever it was made of, and a tight collar right up to her chin, seeming to choke her. They appeared to be in a rush, half-running into the park with their troupe on their heels. We saw someone with a camera directing them, or trying to. Hardly five minutes later, they emerged out of the park again, still running, almost as if they’d done a quick round of jogging. However, when they arrived at the sidewalk along the park, they found that the limo had gone. It must have had to leave the rendezvous point because it was blocking the traffic. The group panicked, looking anxiously at their watches, looking into the streets for a sign of the cars. No doubt a five minute delay would mean they’d have to skip the next item on their wedding day schedule. Fortunately at that moment the limo drove by. But as they wanted to enter, the driver signaled them to stand back. For some reason the car had to turn around there, perhaps to be in the right direction for the rest of the tour. Turning a limo is not an easy thing to do though, let alone if you’re on a busy street in Paris. At the same time, the limo started turning around, and the bride and groom made their way across the street, running, annoyed; the bride picked up her long dress to be able to move around more easily. From under the delicate white lace we saw black stockings appear, and a pair of worn-out sneakers. This sight freaked M. out. “How can anyone wear shoes like that underneath a wedding dress?” Me, I don’t know why, I wasn’t surprised at all. It seemed the logical thing to do if you’re going to run around all day long.

So this is how people spend their wedding day in Paris. Personally, if I were to get married, I would prefer a more relaxed day, on a quiet spot. M. and I thought back of all the places we had visited in the past few days, trying to come up with the perfect location for anyone wanting to marry in Paris. The Notre Dame (too easy)? The Jardin du Luxembourg (too wide-open)? Underneath the big clock of the Musée d’Orsay (too dark)? The Arc de Triomphe (too much traffic going round)?

We finally agreed on some small, forgotten bridge over the Seine that we crossed on the first day. Perhaps my best memory of Paris yet.

Grotere kaart weergeven

2007-05-11. 2 responses.


  1. […] Blog Pondering Programming and Poetry « Where To Marry In Paris (part 1) Where To Marry In Paris (Part 3) […]

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