Enjoying Paris

The culture of contemplation

Something that really caught my attention in Paris was that the chairs are always turned to things and not to people. On the street tables, for example, people seat down side to side, facing the street, and not one in front of another. The same thing happens in squares and other public places. This picture was taken at Jardin des Tuileries and illustrates it very well. An enormous lake surrounded by spectators.

At first sight, it could seen almost impersonal, since people are never facing each other. But also there is something like contemplation. Of looking the movement, the life, the passage of time. Of observing and sharing all this things with who is by your side. It's less looking to the inside and more looking to the outside, to the world. It's about the value of things, maybe. It looks like nothing goes unnoticed by the attentive eyes.

After all, what are we if not this? To look beyond our own world and share perceptions and experiences with others. I don't know, maybe I'm a little bit nuts, but I think it makes total sense. How smart these French are!

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