To explain Fête de la Musique to a Princeton student, I would simply have to ask them to imagine Princeton lawnparties taking place on a national scale.
At lawnparties different music bands perform at the eating clubs; at the Fête de la Musique, every public square, cafe, museum and bridge in Paris (and in all of France) is animated by bands playing different kinds of music.
So on Sunday all of Paris was one big concert space, and pedestrians replaced cars on streets. I walked around Paris with my friends from work (Seungjin, Emily and Gary), interns at kilo architectures. We ate lunch at the canal and then made our way through Paris, picking up free food from vendors at the open air market near Place de la Bastille, and walking along the Seine to sample some of the music. We met up with Ruben, another kilo architect, at the Saint Michel fountain and then headed for the Luxembourg Gardens. There we had a picnic with cheese and wine and cookies. By this time I was so exhausted that I had to go take a nap.
In the evening I went to the Louvre to catch the symphony orchestra concert but it was full by the time we got there. So we went to the Centre Pompidou. In the beautiful night the building glittered elegantly. Sitting on the esplanade, looking at Centre Pompidou, and hearing the festive sounds of the city around me was in itself intoxicating. Later there was confetti and loud music and a lot of people and it all seems like a blur now. I am just glad that the metro was open all night thanks to the Fête de la Musique.
kilo. The internship has helped me learn a lot about working as an architect in the "real" world. All kinds of practical (as well as absurd) considerations and requirements have to be accounted for in the conception of architectural design, and redesign, and re-re-redesign. Another essential difference from being at school is that one is implementing another person's (or group's) design concept and so it is all the more dangerous to get too attached to the project. You have to maintain a careful balance between giving your very best and taking a back seat when drastic changes are made, so that you will return the next morning and still go on with yet a new iteration. But if the process has made me disciplined and patient on the one hand, it has also reinforced my determination to go to grad school right after Princeton, so that I can become a real architect ASAP.
Overall, this summer is very different from the last because ten hours of my day are spent at work. Yet Paris is as fascinating as ever, both in its glittering beauty and in its deeper, darker mysteries.