Bonsoir! (Good Evening!)

Today was a lovely day. Although nothing big was planned, except a meeting with our school and a diagnostic oral exam, the day turned out to be extremely fun.

At lunch time, a couple friends and I went to L’Hôtel de Ville to eat. And afterwards, we crossed the Seine to the Île de la Cité (the island in the middle of the Seine and the center of the city) and then to the Left Bank. We were looking for a few books for class and stumbled upon the bookstore “Shakespeare & Company”, opened in 1951 by George Whitman as an English-language bookstore that then took it’s name after the owner of the first “Shakespeare & Company” in Paris (founded in 1919 and visited by many famous writers), Sylvia Beach, passed away.

After reuniting on campus, we set out again to discover the Pont des Arts, the famous bridge with locks placed there by couples who wrote their names on them and threw the keys into the Seine.

Walking on the Right Bank of the Seine, I spotted an outline of a fetus on the street corner. I’ve already seen several around the city, and each time I spotted one I was very confused as to the meaning.

Later, we encountered a really cool entrance to a heavily-decorated building and decided to enter.

The place was called 59 Rivoli (Rivoli is then name of the road), and it is 6 floors of artist studios, but there is no empty space- the whole building is decorated, from the walls to the floors to the ceiling, etc.. People were invited to go up the stairs and enter the studios as they pleased.

At the stairs, I spotted the same fetus I had seen on many streets on the walls, stairs, ceiling, and then in one of the studios on the third or fourth floor!

Around the big painting of the fetus, there was a rather existential quote saying: “D’où Venons Nous? Que Faisons Nous? Où Allons Nous?”. And I when I got home and looked it up, it turned out to be the name of a painting by Gauguin, in which the top left corner had this quote. Why this graffiti is all over the place, however, is still a mystery to me. I guess that’s why it’s art!

Continuing up the stairs of the building, I could hear the Beatles’ “Come Together” louder and louder, and there was a note in the middle of the staircase:

Hahaha. So we did keep going up. And we ended up at the top, where there was a beautiful skylight, and some sort of party was being set up. We only peeked in for a bit and then went back outside.

Back on the streets, guess what I saw! Another fetus!

Walking a little more, we got closer and closer to the Centre Pompidou, and there was a courtyard with more art and a big fountain in the middle.

Quite hungry at this point, we were ecstatic to see a stall that sold crêpes. I ordered a banana and nutella one and could not have been happier. It was the perfect way to end the day!

Never before have I seen nutella come in this size!

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