Grant McWilliams

Travel Trip Journals Paris/Lyon - 2008 Day 7 - Who do? Pompidou!

Day 7 - Who do? Pompidou!

The rain has lessened so we did our normal shopping in the morning to get croissants and some fruit from one of the many fruit stands. Natalya has been begging to go to Pompidou center to hang out so that's our plan today. If you don't know Pompidou you could just google it! Ok here's a link - Pompidou Centre.

When someone in my family says they want to go to Pompidou it doesn't mean they want to go to the modern art museum named after George Pompidou which we've done twice but rather they want to go to the area surrounding Pompidou Centre. The area is host to many street performers and a really strange mix of people. Many are tourists but many are locals. There are a lot of Arabs and Blacks from north Africa lending a very vibrant exotic element. It's also an area where it's best to keep an eye on your wallet so take note. Pompidou center is a large strange buiding with all the guts on the outside. The pipes, escalator, heating ducts etc are all on the outside leaving the inside basically wall free. It's the perfect building for a modern art museum and to get in the mood you might want to run up the down escalator.

Anyway in front of the buiding is a large sloping concrete and stone area where the street performers gather and at the top are a plethora of artists just waiting to do your caricature or portrait for $30. Some are very good and if nothing else are interesting to talk too. I've met restaurant chefs that have closed down their restaurants and turned to drawing peoples picture for a living! I guess its the French equivilent to moving to Manhattan and becoming a dog walker in central park.

You just never know what you're going to find at Pompidou and today was no different. There was a Chinese guy with a guitar singing old American songs to French people. Every year at least one of us get's sucked into a street performance and this year was Natalya's. She got shake the noisemakers while he sang an American song. The video will be on Youtube eventually so stay tuned.

We gave him change and moved on to have our portraits one. I need a characature for this site so I've had several done and this was probably the best. We chose the Chinese section of the artists apparently as there were about 10 Chinese people drawing. The lady that did Natalya is from Shanghai and has lived in Paris for 5 years. She's going to be heading back now as I assume her VISA has expired. She'll be in for a suprise when she gets there because I think China has changed a lot in the last 5 years. I also met another guy from the northeast of China that learned German at home and moved to Germany for 3 years to study art. He had just arrived in Paris and couldn't speak French but seemed very nice...He needed a lesson in business though as he wasn't quite understanding that a lone person that can't speak the language wasn't going to attract business over his competition.

I was going to go back and work some entrepeneurial magic but was tired so didn't. The next time we went by there he wasn't there. So I got a fairly decent characature and in time I'll scan it an put it up here.