Adventures Of A Day #1 – La Souris Sourit *

July Column at Place de La Bastille

*The Mouse Smiles

The idea of the adventures came to me sometime ago, during one of the days when I work until noon, have a free afternoon and I do my best to squeeze the rest of the day by moving, circulating, shooting photos, visiting expositions, have wide open eyes, feeling and perception, in other words welcoming everything I meet.
This first article is in fact the second formed in my mind but having fresh memory and time, I start from here.
As I have poor photo material (due to unpredictable circumstances), I enhance them from other sources.

On Sundays I love to visit one of the outdoors farmers’ and producers’ market (le marché) of the neighborhood, at Bastille.
Although it makes me nervous to follow the pace of slowly – if at all – moving people, I sometimes sacrifice my calm and my usually brisk walking in order to see the goods from all over France as well as from many other countries.
It is also very likely that either a group of musicians or alone instrument players will be at the place – and that could make the day, isn’t it.
If one could remain cool and not push, kick or swear silently (“politically incorrect” but I confess that I do it sometimes!), it’s enjoyable and of course you can find and buy whatever fresh product you wish, flowers, fake or handmade jewels, clothes, scarfs, leather objects or small utensils – and all that even if you have no intention to spend money.
C’est la vie! in Paris.

After the visit to the market, I went for a walk without any specific plan or destination – and that’s a side of adventure – but knowing nevertheless that in late afternoon it would rain and I’d have to return home soon.
My steps led me (cliché) to the Jardins de l’Hôtel des Sens.
(Photos source: Wikipedia)

The planting at this season is different but the garden is still calm and beautiful.

At the nearby bench, a homeless man was sleeping. Although I do not usually take photos of people and I avoid to show faces, I took a picture of him mainly because he seemed to sleep peacefully, no matter what happened around or in his life.
Human need for rest!

While sitting, reading, taking a snack and having a cup of wine, a mouse passed under the bench and my feet!
It’s not something unprecedented or strange after sometime in Paris. Mice take their walks in gardens and pay no attention to human presence.
The first time I made their …. acquaintance, I never entered the garden and went somewhere safer. Normally, in the past I had been afraid of them with the kind of fear which is baseless given that they are rather harmless.
Although it is impossible to stay away from them if you live in the city and you visit Seine banks, gardens or forests (and I suspect also underground and basements of any kind) I prefer not to meet them … personally, regularly and in private.

In gardens, they run one after the other, search for food, play maybe, and today I heard them shrill.
They were worth shooting.
Difficult to catch a small thing running between bushes unpredictably.
Nevertheless, one of them remained for a while near me, maybe smiling self-complacently and allowing me to take its picture.

2nd SAM_5996
Somewhere in the middle under the bushes and the homeless man waking up
3rd SAM_5996
The little creature magnified and posing

The man on the bench woke up, greeted me and when I offered him a cigarette declared that he never smokes.
Soon after, rain started. In fact, just a few thick drops made all of us leave the garden. Really useless decision.
The homeless man came near and proposed to offer me a cup of coffee.
Yes, that’s Paris!

Among my … incomplete French (to put it politely) and the man’s accent, most of the conversation was “lost in the translation” and I am not sure that my refusal was made clear.
However, after I said goodbye, the man approached and I let him kiss my cheek (twice) while he bragged a bit for his love for women. He proved a “lover boy” with long hands if allowed to.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is Paris as well, together with human nature!

The rain stopped soon after. It restarted a few hours later in the form of a rainstorm and it continues until now, four hours later.
It offered me time to write and the chance to enjoy it from home, as it is always enjoyable to hear  the sound of the rain, furthermore on the roofs of Paris!
But, you have to know though that even if it is an almost everyday phenomenon, rain is always a pain in the ass.
Have a little thought and care (if possible) of people living or working in the streets please!

Unpredictable meetings and weather is, bien sûr, Paris after all!

Photos (unless otherwise stated) : EliP©


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