09:25:45 pmCategories: Places, Distinctions, Peculiarities

Adieu again

The clouds hang low over Oslo Airport. Typical nice autumn weather, the captain called it. The weather is not necessarily so nice in Paris either, so I’ll not jump to any easy comparison…

But these last weeks, the weather has been very nice in Paris, particularly the evenings and nights. And it was even not too bad when we early, early this morning left the flat and got on our way to the airport. It’s Saturday, and at the bakery (in the upper end of Rue Oberkampf, highly recommended! Their croissants au beurre are the kind that melt in your mouth), there are more noctambules (see this post) than morning birds dropping by. I stand behind a tired young man, leaning over the counter struggling to decide between an orange or apple juice to go with his pastry. The saleswoman keeps her cool and retains all the polite phrases, but she looks a bit apprehensively up at the hooded youth.

Outside, while the bars closed some hours ago, other cafés are opening their doors, putting out chairs and tables at the pavement. Most night wanderers seemed to disappear at dawn, and we get on the bus taking us across the city, Paris is awake. Eager students hop off in the university area, and I see shoppers pull their trolleys along to the street market already burgeoning of flowers, groceries and the rest.

Paris never sleeps, I thought when I went to the bakery in this intermediate zone between nightlife and early morning. Perhaps there are streets in Oslo which gradually transforms like this as well. Oberkampf, where I lived now, can in many respects be compared to Grünerløkka (which is close to where I live in Oslo), but how often does one see old, completely ordinary people sit down on more or less trendy cafés in Grünerløkka? There are plenty of elderly inhabitants in Oberkampf, talking part in the local life, as there are plenty of children going to school there in the morning. I think it is something there, which is more than an easy comparison; this mixing of old and young, of hip and ordinary, of noctambules and parents with pushchairs, that is weaving the distinctive fabric of the Parisian street life, giving it its very particular feel. Which I don’t even have to say that I miss.

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