Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Paris: The Sights

I kept telling people I wasn't going to make a big list of what I wanted to do/see while there because I had such a short time that I didn't want to feel the pressure. Even as I said it, I knew it was a lie. Me not making a huge list is like me not bringing 6 pairs of shoes for 4 days (and YES, I wore each pair!), or me not pretending to be an anonymous spy in the airport (which you can only do when you travel alone - try it, it's fun), or me not finding a favourite bakery near my hotel within 20 minutes of check-in.

I even made a list for writing this post.

From the list, I pretty much hit everything, mostly because I didn't put the Louvre on there so I didn't have to waste an entire day waiting in the entry line-up. But of all the touristy, arty things I saw, I think I enjoyed the architecture the most. Every other picture was of random ordinary buildings. They're so beautiful.

Joe Blow French gets to work and live in these buildings! Well, I presume so anyway. We just don't get these here.

I liked how the city was really accessible and it was easy to walk to everything, criss-crossing over the Seine. And yes, like everyone kept saying, the Metro was pretty easy to understand. I only went in the wrong direction once and managed to make it from the airport unscathed. I love the gag where you can ride the subway for free because "I'm not from here! I didn't know I couldn't just walk through that gate! Je ne comprende pas! Bibliotheque!" This also works well in NYC. Well, not so much the French part unless you pretend you're a Quebecois.

Things I saw that weren't in the guidebooks:

- how they keep those perfect topiary trees in the Jardin de Tuileries so perfectly round - it's a wooden form thing that one guy holds while the other guy cuts

- a man kick the foot of a homeless woman who was sitting in the street cradling her child. He first kicked her with his cane, then his own foot and muttered something in French. Likely something rude.

- advertisement on the subway for a course that will teach you English. But not any regular English - Wall Street English! To be honest, this is probably a course I could use. Does anyone know what a 401K is?

Obviously, I saw these:

I really have to come up with a better tourist pose. To be fair though, I was in the middle of the crazy road on a median not much wider than my smile here and I was teetering. From the wine.

You can tell I only have one 'travel' bag that I wore everywhere. It looks like it could really be holding my bow and arrows behind me. Even though I tried to seem cool, I was constantly checking to see if I'd been pick-pursed. Aha! Foiled again, crime!

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