Ooh La La!
Well, I'm back! Actually, I've been back for a week and have been playing catch-up with emails and work. I've finally gotten a free moment to blog about Paris. All I can say is WOW! What a city! Paris was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. I walked around that city for a week on serious sensory overload. I hardly knew where to look. There was so much to see. You can take off walking in just about any direction, turn a corner, and run into a huge monument, or a statue, or a cathedral.
I stayed at this hotel, which is only a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Every night on the hour, for ten minutes, the tower lights up. It's amazing! My hotel was very European, very quaint, and very, very small. It only had about forty rooms, forty very small rooms. My room was the size of a college dorm room, with a very tiny bathroom. It also had a tiny elevator the size of a closet, which I avoided like the plague. Instead, I walked five winding flights of stairs several times everyday, which brings me to my other revelation about Paris. If you go, be prepared to walk, and walk, and walk! Paris is best seen on foot. I think I actually lost weight because my seat belt on the plane was a lot looser coming home than it was on the way there. Also, most of the buildings over there are hundreds of years old and have no elevators or escalators. Even the metro, which I became pro at riding, has lots of stairs to climb.
Since coming home, everyone has asked me about the food. Honestly, I didn't have a completely authentic French meal. Since a good French dinner in Paris can easily run hundreds of dollars, I usually made lunch my biggest meal, and had baguette and cheese and fruit, as well as lots of wine, for a light dinner in the evenings. I did have some very good ethnic food. One night I had a wonderful dinner at a Lebanese restaurant near my hotel with a fellow member of my tour group, a very nice divorced man from Toledo, who I think had way more than dinner in mind, and was old enough to be my father. Needless to say, he was sorely disappointed. LOL! Anyway, the main thing I was wanting to eat in Paris were pastries. I had some daily. The fresh raspberry, and strawberry tarts were my favorites, though the bread with chocolate baked inside were a close second.
Another thing I got asked a lot: Are the French really rude? To be honest, a few of them weren't very warm. But on the whole, I found them to be a whole lot friendlier than I'd expected. No one was blatantly rude. But then again, I tried really hard to be polite and always tried to speak French, which helps a lot. One thing that struck me while I was there was that Paris is truly a melting pot of cultures. There were people of every race living there. But as with every big city, there were also many homeless people and beggars. I never felt unsafe while walking around the city, but pick pockets are in abundance in Paris. One one my fellow tour mates from Australia, had her purse stolen while shopping. Thankfully, she only lost twenty euros and a credit card that she cancelled and that her bank quickly replaced.
All in all I had an amazing time! I can't wait to go back. Here are my top ten observations about Paris. And if you click here, you can see some of the pictures I took.
1. Everyone has a tiny little dog.
2. Everyone has a tiny little car.
3. No one makes eye contact on the metro.
4. Most people in Paris are smokers.
5. They drive like maniacs.
6. You're considered rude if you don't greet the shopkeeper upon entering a store.
7. Gas costs ten euros a gallon. Ouch!
8. American television is very big in France.
9. Most people eat dinner at around 9pm.
10. There's a wine store and a bakery on every block.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Ooh La La!