Paris: 9eme et 10eme arrondissements
Well, I still have Paris pictures to share with you, interwebs. Is it improper blogging etiquette to be posting pictures that are, at this point, 6 months old? It could be. I set a goal for myself to post about each beautiful Parisian district, though, and post I shall. We've made our way to the 9th arrondissement. This is probably one of the busiest and most hectic areas of Paris. With a total nineteen metro stations, a world-renowned Opera house, and the flagship location of France's largest department store, the 9th is a swirl of consumerism and commerce. Boulevard Haussmann, made famous by Gustave Caillebotte's paintings, cuts boldly through this district and bears the hallmarks of Louis-Napoléon's desire for order and cleanliness. While researching Parisian architectural history I often came across criticisms of Baron Haussmann's aggressive changes to the city, which many argued were oppressive and socially destructive. While I personally tend to appreciate the modernity that came along with this restructuring, I have to admit that I can understand why critics feel this way whenever I find myself in the 9th. I usually feel rushed and have to just put my head down and brave the crowds and cars to navigate those streets. Just like Caillebotte's painting, umbrellas are a welcome means of protecting one's own personal bubble during the rainy season.
...But then there's the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette...
Below are glimpses of time we spent in the 10th. Given the above images, it's hard to believe these pictures were all taken during the same season. On the day we ventured to the Canal St-Martin Paris was unseasonably (actually, uncomfortably) warm...but days later it was freezing and rainy.
The Canal St-Martin was originally ordered for construction by Napoleon I in 1802 as a means of bringing fresh water into a city that was increasingly falling prey to dysentery and horrible sanitation. When it was finally completed in 1825 (and funded by a new tax on wine, might I add), the canal was also used to transport grain and supplies. Canal St-Martin isn't used for much these days. In fact, half of it is covered by the Boulevard Jules-Ferry. What remains is a tranquil, albeit obscure, corner of the city.
I hope to visit the canal again when I return to Paris, but just so I can try a certain restaurant my friend later told me about. It is called Pink Flamingo (uhm, cute!) and you can order a pizza to be delivered to you as you picnic on the canal. How do the waiters know where to find you? Pink balloons. Done and done.