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A Rainy (or Overcast) Day Delight, Cinema in St-Germain des Pres:

The weather forecast is gray and I am a weather wimp.  One option is to grab a coat and some practical shoes and tough out the inclement weather.  A better choice is to accept that gray or rainy days are not the best time for outdoor adventures and revel in Paris’ accessible and spontaneous indoor pleasures.  One of the most indulgent habits I have acquired in Paris is the expectation that no matter the weather or the circumstance,  and with virtually no advance planning or reservations, the city will never fail to provide entertainment and gustatory delights.

One such sure thing is watching a film at an independent cinema like one of the Action theaters on the Left Bank.  The French love the cinema and have a particular reverence for classic and foreign films.  They also have a wonderful tradition of celebrating the cinema through themed mini-festivals.  In Paris, a few old independent cinemas in the 5th and 6th arrondissements, change their thematic programming on a weekly basis.  The salles (theaters) themselves are tiny and still have the red velvet chairs of bygone eras.  They resemble private screening rooms more than modern cineplexes.  An afternoon ensconced in a cushy armchair with three dozen other cinephiles is the ideal way to spend a rainy matinée, afternoon or evening.  All the films are shown in the original language (usually English) with French subtitles.

This week’s festivals include the Seven Year Itch as part of a Billy Wilder retrospective at

ACTION CHRISTINE
4, rue Christine
75006 Paris
Tél. : 01 43 25 85 78
Métro : Odéon, Saint-Michel.

As well as, To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant, during the Cary Grant festival at

ACTION ÉCOLES
23, rue des Écoles
75005 Paris
Tél. : 01 43 25 72 07
Métro : Maubert-Mutualité, Jussieu.

This week’s programming  http://www.actioncinemas.com/semainedu07.html.

N.B. The Action cinemas are particularly recommendable in the rain as they are easily accessible from the metro, which is the best transportation option in bad weather. It is typically very difficult to get a taxi in Paris on a rainy day.

French Movie Poster, St Germain Cinema

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Bridge Moments

There is an expression that you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  For most people, the logic that applies to “family” in this context, also applies to “hometown.” You can choose your vacation spots or attempt an attractive relocation, but home will always be home. Home is tied to family, to childhood, and most importantly, to identity. It is often the place you grew up and the unique place where you belong.

Restless expats are the rare and curious exception to this rule: they find their sense of belonging elsewhere. As an expat, I chose Paris not as my friend or as a vacation spot but as my home and life partner.  And so after years of dating, I married Paris and made her my family.

This blog is a tribute to my love and my home. I hope to share my vision of Paris through this blog and reveal a few of the countless moments that make the city of lights so magical.

It is superficial but true; first and foremost, I fell in love Paris for her beauty.  From the venerable architecture imbued with history to the meticulously landscaped parks and the river flowing through her center, Paris is a feast for the eyes. Rushing through the city on a busy workday, I continue to have moments when I feel compelled to slow down for a moment to let Paris’ splendor wash over me.

The most powerful and poignant moments occur on Paris’ bridges, where her visual magic is nothing short of arresting.  They are the best in the evening, walking back over the river on Pont Neuf from a dinner in St Germain to my apartment in the Marais. Suspended in the very center of Paris on a centuries-old stone arch over the river Seine, with an unbeatable view of Paris’ neighborhoods in front of me, I fall in love all over again.

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