Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Some Thoughts on Paris
A few pictures and some thoughts. We visited the list of places you'd expect and none were a disappointment. We had flawless weather and our flat was fine.
We don't eat expensive food, so it was mostly crepes, omelets and a few fish dinners (It wasn't about the food). Lots of wine though. Rose especially.
Since we had an apartment, we ate at home a lot.
But semi-prepared food as Phil needed a break, plus we had four flights to walk up with groceries.
Our flat was in The Marais, an excellent location that I highly recommend. If you ever decide to go I will give you the email address of the proprietor.
What we enjoyed most was people watching-going to the parks, the festivals, watching the throngs at Notre Dame. Several visits to bookstores, four to movies (Marathon Man, The Lady Vanishes, Fallen Angel and Young and Innocent) and two classical music concerts. And art, of course, but not the larger galleries except for the Pompidou and the Rodin.
Oh, and lots of gardens.
Underground, the Paris Metro is the most well-organized transportation system I know of. Every station and every car on the trains have maps and easy- to- read ones. Above ground, it's a free- for -all with motorcycles, bikes, cars and pedestrians fighting for turf. Paris drivers are the most aggressive I've seen--working on the theory that he who hesitates loses the game. They are the most skilled parkers I've seen also. Woe to the pedestrian who blocks a parking spot even momentarily.
When I was last in Paris (1995), all the women wore scarves. Now many men do too. Somehow they pull it off although my husband would disagree.
How can the French be so good at art, fashion, literature but so poor at plumbing, heating electricity?
Styles in men's sports coats: short, tight, with narrow lapels. Like the early sixties. The jackets pull across the waist.
Styles in women's shoes-they wind up the leg with laces, straps, something. They are complicated. Every boutique seem to carry its own line of exciting and expensive clothing. I have never seen so many different shoes or dresses. I bought an inexpensive scarf and a necklace, two books and a few souvenirs. (It wasn't about shopping either). The French also have many toy and kid's clothing stores with one of a kind things.
The French seem to have more surnames than a single nationality should have. At the cemetery I saw almost no repeats of names.
Everyone under thirty seems to smoke. They may not smoke inside restaurants but they certainly do at the cafe tables. There must be a hundred thousand cafe tables in Paris and there is someone at almost everyone of them. They always face the street rather than each other.
There are more good American movies on the screens in France than in the U.S. That's because there are film festivals of every significant director and actor. Just a few; Cohn Brothers, Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn, Al Pacino, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, John Houston, Noir.
This was just over a two-week period.
The bookstores in France were just as empty as the bookstores in my neighborhood.
Paris is vastly more multi-cultural than on our last visit, but not as multi-cultural as London by a long shot.
Our flat was next to a school. Their school day is longer, but they seem to have numerous noisy breaks.
You can easily survive in France speaking no English. I am a testament to that, having never managed more than Merci and Bonjour and those in a horrible accent. People born in Philadelphia can never excise their nasal twang.
No one was ever rude to us. Hope I didn't bore you!