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Paris Redux

I’m looking forward to visiting Paris again this spring. That’s as good an excuse as any to share two Paris snippets from my recent reading.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser wrote about looping strolls through Paris —

I have a bicycle. Paris is big. I want to say that the lines I draw with my bicycle through this great city are extraordinary. The lines are just as wonderful as all the other lines I cross traced by all the other people. I ride around people and obstacles. I am happy at last to be in harmony and in contact with the others. These lines, for which I need many hours and which form an enormous circle by the time I come back and which make me tired, are more beautiful, more genuine and more justified than those I could draw on paper. And I dare say that the lines I trace with my feet on the pavement walking to the museum are more important than the lines I will find there hanging on the walls inside. And it pleases me enormously to see that the line I trace is never straight, never confused, but has a reason to be like this in every tiny part. Beware of the straight line and the drunken line. But above all beware of the T-squared straight line. The straight line leads to the downfall of humanity. La ligne droite conduit à la perte de l’humanité.1

— and Rilke imagined warm welcomes:

I walked right along the Quai d’Anjou, and into one side-turning after another, as though I were burdened with a lot of memories which in fact I don’t possess at all — it was such a strange afternoon. Somewhere, at a particularly carefully muffled high window, a corner of the curtain was lifted as I went past, and I thought it must be a sign meant for me; there was a feeling here, and then again, as if I had only to walk in, as if everything would be explained even to the very smell that meets you, as if one had been long expected, as if a kind of relief must overwhelm all these silent houses if one decided to go in… a staircase, a hall, not a moment’s hesitation, that is the door, ‘Ah, c’est vous enfin’, does someone say? no matter, it is in the air, in the dusk, the fire on the hearth knows it, all things are quite sure…2

Ah, c’est vous enfin… I can’t wait.