Saturday, July 15, 2017

Postcards from Paris 3: The School

Our hotel room's casement windows overlooked a school, and I enjoyed watching the kids and their parents coming and going. I heard it was their final week before summer vacation, and there was a lot of activity even into the night. The casement windows were well sound-proofed so I never minded the racket.

I was awake and around when the school day began, so I saw mothers and fathers in sleek suits or shorts dropping off their children and kissing them goodbye. In a city filled with tourists, it was nice to watch real Parisians doing something so ordinary but charming.

As you can see, real Parisians wear sneakers, sandals, shorts, untucked shirts, tees — many of the same things Americans wear. They just manage to look hipper than we do.

One mother had a blonde Afro mohawk and a tiger's head on her leggings, as well as a toddler in a stroller and a baby in her arms:

I saw very few mothers dressed up for work; these red heels were unusual, as was the all-black ensemble below:

Another kiss, under an umbrella:

Sometimes kids arrived late and had to ring the bell. Sometimes someone's mother wanted to get in:

I was often around in the afternoons when parents arrived to walk their children home. Notice how all these Parisians are wearing shorts, tees, sneakers, and backpacks, all things that the Americans are not supposed to pack for Paris lest we look like American yokels. And yet these kids and parents look . . . Parisian. Is it their haircuts? I have no idea, but I suspect it is in the details, The backpacks have hipper designs, an ensemble is all-black, the shorts fit just so, the sneakers are fabulous, a little sweater is worn over the tee, and that tee hangs just perfectly. Etc.

I saw all kinds of people in a community centered on their children. And it seemed great.

One afternoon I watched the little girl on the left try to climb the lamp post while her handsome papa paid attention to her brother:

I didn't get the photo of her putting her foot on top of his head for a boost. He remained oblivious.

If I was up late at night, there might still be some action in front of the school. This woman sat smoking and talking on her cell phone for a long time. It didn't seem like the most comfortable spot.

Then Friday came. I had to come home and school was over.


  1. Love the photos of Paris! We stayed in a hotel in the 11th arrondissement near a school and I agree, it was nice to see non-tourists. That was one reason why we stayed in that area.

    Your photos make me want to go again!

  2. looks like that lamp post has been climbed by many a child


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