samedi, février 07, 2009

Bibliothèque Saint-Geneviève

Another pretty unexciting day, although at least productive. I slept in again, felt just the slightest bit better about my cold (perhaps thanks to eating three cloves of raw garlic and drinking some very strong ginger tea last night) and set out again for a day of book-readin’ in Paris’s university libraries. This time, I went to Bibliothèque Saint-Geneviève, which is right next to the Panthéon and features this lovely, high-ceilinged space with 19th-century wrought-iron arches holding up the double barrel-vault ceilings. I was regretting that I didn’t have a camera with me to take a picture of the interior, but then I realized that the library’s website has images of the arches all over the place, so I tried to pull them off the site. Unfortunately, they've all been used as background images, sliced up and merged with text overlays, so it doesn't look so good. Instead, here's a lovely picture from Flickr:

Fantastic! Anyway, the experience involved a fair bit of bureaucracy to get an access card, and then I had to order the book I wanted from the upper stacks, and then I had to circle the massive chamber for ages until I found a desk that was open so that I could sit down and finally read the book I requested.

After all of that, I left the library around 18h00 and gave some thought to making a mad dash to one of the other libraries on my list, but gave up when I stepped outside and found that it was snowing heavily. It seemed like a better idea to just go home, get some dinner, and work on some other materials that I already had at home. As I was walking back to the métro station in the snow, I noticed that everyone around me was hunched over, had hoods pulled over their heads, and looked as if they were braced for some sort of blizzard/hurricane. That’s just silly. It was snowing, but the snow was just falling straight down in big, wet flakes. You don’t hunch over and scowl at that, you enjoy the slow-motion confetti shower of white flakes, you let them give you a light coating of white, which you can then dust off with a grand gesture when you finally get to a sheltered place. If it were -15 degrees with 80km/h winds, I might be hunched over too, but Parisians were just being wusses.

But maybe I just think that because I’m Canadian.

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