mardi 22 juillet 2008

Weekend in the Park(s)

Diego and I spent another weekend biking around, trying to soak up as much of Paris as we can before we move. On Saturday, we biked to a park in the 15th called Parc André Citröen. This park blends industrial design elements – including a slanting cement waterfall, dancing fountains, and a giant helium balloon in the middle – with expansive green areas, two greenhouse pavilions, and smaller decorative flower gardens.

And although the dancing fountains had a sign prohibiting park visitors from playing in them, lots of kids were running around trying to catch streams of water. It was a cold day for this Miami girl, but the kids chasing after the dancing fountains looked like they were enjoying their urban water park.

After visiting the park, we biked along the river all the way past the center of Paris to Bastille, and from there made our way back home via the Canal St. Martin area, where naturally, we stopped to get our afternoon aperitif.

Our bike ride on Sunday was not nearly as long, but just as fun, as we had a picnic at Parc de la Villette. Once again, I found that the locals out-picnicked us. While we had what I consider a respectable picninc - an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie, wine, and chocolate for dessert - our neighbors not only had food, but included champagne and coffee in their picnic.

Parc de la Villette is probably my favorite park here, not necessarily because of the park itself but because of the atmosphere created by the people there. First, the people who go to this park all seem to know each other, and consolidate their picnics when they run into friends. Second, every time we go, there’s at least one group of people either performing or practicing dance and music. The first time we went, we stumbled on what appeared to be almost a hundred people playing with drums hanging around their necks, dancing to the rhythms they were creating.

This Sunday, we were lucky enough to catch the tail end of a concert by a Brazilian group that blended indian and eastern european sounds into music with a hip tribal beat.

We also saw a group of people playing African drum music, with lookers-on dancing along.

All in all, we had a fun and relaxing weekend. I’m sure Diego was sad to see the weekend end, as he had to go to work on Monday. But, hey, someone in this family needs to work!

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