l’heure de fermeture

by jemma margaret

I like to wake up early, so I try not to stay up too late (the upstairs midnight stomper has lately been thwarting these efforts–more on that later).

Thus, while I’ve heard stories about bars throwing patrons out onto the street or locking them in after hours, I have never been privy to those sorts of experiences. At least, not that I remember.

At least once a week, on the other hand, I find myself in a library at closing time. I imagine their strategies to alert patrons to pack their things and go back to the places they will be from are somewhat different than those of more social, less literary places. Here are a few of them:

Bibliothéque d’Histoire de Paris: This is my favorite. An elegant older man comes to each table at 10 to 6 and whispers loudly, “nous fermons”. At the larger tables he might say it three or four times.

Bibliothéque d’Hôtel de Ville: This is my least favorite. At 5:30, 5:45, and 6:00 a terrible buzzer goes off for about 10 seconds. I am only guessing about it going off at 6 o’clock because I am always so annoyed by the second buzzer that I leave immediately.

Bibliothéque d’Institut Henri Poincaré: An electronic chime of sorts plays at 5:50.

Bibliothéque de Jussieu–Biologie, Chimie, Physique Recherche: From the front desk the librarian announces closing at about 7 to 6.

Speaking of announcing the time, it appears that Notre Dame just received a new bell delivery, from Normandy of course. They are very big bells, about half the size of my kitchen and a perfect addition to any quiet place looking to kick people out.