24th November 2010
I have done some serious walking today around this ancient city. All the way from the Ile de la Cite to the Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde, then onto the amazing food shops of the Place de la Madeline and then returning through all the little back streets to the Pompidou centre. According to Google maps I did just short of 5 miles which will explain why my feet are now killing me. I rounded the whole trip off with a gloriously large bowl of French onion soup with melted cheese and a large cup of coffee. I felt very chic sitting in the cafe on the side of the road.
I missed Him today, he had to attend His conference, walking round Paris was so lovely and I kept seeing things that I wanted to share with Him. I hope that my feet recover for this evening and then we can attempt the rather long walk to the Eiffel Tower, I think Paris by night will be just as wonderful as it was in the daylight, all be it significantly colder. (See yesterdays post to know that me and cold don’t get on)
Paris is a beautiful city, and it has been preserved well, it is awash with churches and imposing buildings and on the whole it is clean, although there does seem to be some slight dog mess issues. The traffic is unreal and the French drive like maniacs and it’s even worse than London for crossing the road. This is every man for himself attitude and if you want to get anywhere then you will have to be prepared to force your way through, and that includes pedestrians, a breeze for me, but I suspect that Sir will find that very different from the polite attitude of Philadelphia.
There is so much more I could write about Paris but for now I think I will end with my top ten observations on Paris…..
- It’s VERY VERY expensive. I paid 9 Euros for what was essentially some cheese on toast and a hot chocolate however the hat was fairly reasonable but food and drink are crazy prices!
- Yes, the French are mad drivers, they love their scooters and mopeds and hooting their horns as often as possible.
- I am delighted to find that the art form that is smoking is alive and well in Paris. The restaurants have even created heated smoking areas outside their cafes and I was even given an ashtray, an item that seems to have been banned elsewhere in the world is happily living out its useful life in Paris.
- There are still French policeman directing the traffic at busy intersections and they blow a whistle too. They also seem quite happy to hold up all the traffic in order to chat to the pretty girl on the pavement.
- They have a serious problem with beggars here, who are VERY persistent and in some cases almost impossible to shake off. They will happily stand and block your path or even pursue you down the road. For the polite Americans amongst us it is quite a shock I think. Oh and I forgot, they all seem to be Eastern Europeans and speak English not French.
- Paris seems to have more serious parking problem than London and just because a road has been pedestrianised does not seem to mean that you can’t still continue to drive down it….at speed
- The Eiffel tower is a truly amazing structure; you cannot fully appreciate it until you are standing underneath it. Lit up at night is a beautiful and if you ever get the chance, endure the queue and go to the top. You will not be disappointed. For me, it is the highlight of Paris and the one MUST DO attraction.
- Considering the French seem to live on a diet of red meat, cheese, cream, bread, chocolate, red wine and coffee they are all remarkably thin. I have not seen a seriously overweight person the whole time I have been here.
- There is no hysteria about security, no CCTV in the streets, no security searches at the major tourist attractions etc but then I have decided that no one really blows the French up…..apart from the French!
- They make the best cream cakes in the world!
Ps….I have some picture to add to some of these observation but I am afraid that just as before, you will have to remain patient and I shall post them soon…in the meantime heres a little clip but it doesnt do it justice…