While Sundays have the same flavor everywhere in the Western world, Parisians dread it more than any other Westerner. While other Westerners might dislike the bittersweet feeling of a weekend ending, a new work week soon to be started, Parisians just loathe Sundays altogether. Parisian Sundays are not bittersweet. They are bitterbitter.
Weekends for Parisians are not strictly moments of rest: they are implicit social challenges. Each weekend, Parisians need to accomplish things worth sharing with their friends or colleagues on Monday. Weekend descriptions always start in energy with Friday nights, Saturdays and Saturday nights. Weekend description at that point get thrilling: the Parisian can display his interests, purchasing power or connections. Monday morning coffee break turns into a fascinating social rundown. But the description stalls when Sunday is to be reported. “Et dimanche, pas grand chose, tranquillou, repos”. Plain Parisian lie: depressing boredom travestied as pleasant rest.
In more truthful conversations, Parisians happily agree that “ le dimanche, c’est horrible, c’est complètement mort, tout est fermé ”. Indeed. So dimanches in Paris come in three forms: all day at home, doing nothing; all day at home doing nothing except for lunch with the family or brunch with friends, or either option sprinkled with a movie at some point during the day. People going shopping in Le Marais on Sundays may well live in Paris but cannot be considered Parisians. Part of the Parisian identity is knowing that le dimanche is a lost day and not having any form of hope about it. If you have hopes for your Sunday, you’re a newbie or a tourist.
Parisians know that if reality is gray, a movie theater is a good place to try to reset its color for a while. Pitch black. Colors. Emotions. And the hope to keep sliding down that sweet toboggan for the rest of your Sunday. Paris is the city in the world with the greatest number of cinemas: they all manage to be obscenely busy on Sundays. Parisians – discretely – remain romantics. Hopeless but romantics.
Sunday being a day of minimal social efforts, the film will usually not be followed by a drink. Friends who share a movie on Sunday have reached a form of friendship that does not weigh itself down with unneeded exchanges. There is in this Sunday’s movies company an unspoken declaration of friendship: “Yes, my Sunday sucks but I’m happy to show that to you”. No masks needed. No extra conversations needed – the line was long enough: Demain sera un autre jour.
This Sunday movie has a Sunday taste. Good enough for the Sunday souls. Thankfully, sometimes, a good movie strikes the Parisian. In Paris more than anywhere else, a good movie irradiates the soul, it makes life shine simply more. With compelling simplicity, the much anticipated clear spell then cheekily seems to accomplish the impossible: turning gray day into sun day.
Useful tip: Museum? Escapade outside Paris? Sports? Sex? Reading?
Sound like a Parisian: « Tiens, dimanche, j’ai vu un film pas mal…».