le havre et le lumiere

Mes amis,

The other day I woke up feeling a little under the weather – the kind of sniffles that makes you certain that pollen will find its way into even the most urban of environments. Not everything is in bloom here, but we’re getting a touch of the warmer winds and the chives at the market are all bright and springy. And my whole head is clogged. Hoo-rah, Paris  in the Spring.

Actually I’m feeling much better than I was, say, Thursday of last week. And so when I woke up at 6 am Friday morning to catch a train to the port city of Le Havre with my classmates, I didn’t know why exactly I’d chosen to get out of bed. In fact, I’d woken up about five times in total that night feeling positvely certain that it was morning and I’d overslept. Wanting at first to attribute this mistake to my probably fever, I soon realized that, no, the reason I felt like it was morning at 11 pm, 1 am, 3 am, and 5 am was because my WHOLE ROOM was filled with light. Hmm. Alas it was not the presence of the Holy Sprit but instead A NEW STREET LAMP BULB placed directly outside my window. Directly. Never, not for a second of any day, is there darkness in my little room-partment. Sigh. And just when things were getting lovely outside.

Seeing as today is the day (in fact, this hour is the hour) that the charming and witty Lelan Dunavant arrives a Paris to stay with me for a few wine-filled and homework-void evenings, I waited to post this news until she could not check the blog. [it shoudl be said that at this very moment, 7:30 am, the street light just turned off. perfect. the sun is coming up.] I’ve reverted to a heavy dose of magnesium to sleep soundly these past few nights, though I expect that come May I will be able to sleep in any environment with all the lights on at all times.

I’m attaching a few pictures from various school trips, some to Le Havre and others from Paris. Le Havre is the port city to the west of Paris that is right on the cusp of Normandy. At the end of WWII, after the liberation of Paris, it was literally leveled by Allied air raids when the Germans refused to give up occupation of the city. In following years, it was the site of a large-scale pre-fab reconstruction, led by the modernist forces of Auguste Perret and his atelier of designers. It’s not a place you go to say wow, how lovely, but to say wow, how incredibly efficient and effective this reconstruction project was. The apartments are largely homogeneous, but they’re bright and large and utterly livable. The good side of modern architecture, my teachers keep pummelling into my head, is when it lives in dialigue and not in opposition to the past.

The last of our adventures in Le Havre was a trip to Les Bains des Docks, a 2-year old public pool project by Jean Nouvel (a pattern, you might notice, in our curriculum). Swimming was optional, becuse it’s 2 Euros more in your ticket price. But the building was designed such that you can only reach all its crevices (like a giant lego pool maze, it is), by swimming to them. There’s a “hydrotherapy” room and relaxation chamber. My plan had not been to take a dip, but when I got there, I no longer had any desire to be a land-locked. I swam. It. Was. Magical. I also saw my teacher Raphael in a Speedo. Egh. Awkward.




~ by soleilsphere on March 30, 2010.

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