Monday, May 14, 2007

Paris Report Part Un: L'Overture


Because there's so much to share from this first-time Paris visitor, and because I don't have six hours at a pop to compose blog posts, and because if you're like me, you read blogs because they appeal to your ever-shortening attention span, I'm going to break it up into small pieces (just like they tell you to do when you have a Really Big Project). So here's Part Un of my combination travelogue/Burma Shave ad, otherwise known as L'Overture, because I'm going to touch on a bit of everything.

In short, Paris is wonderful. To expand a bit, as English teachers were always after me to do, it's a city for all of your senses. The art and architecture will delight the eye, and the food, the palate. The sound of the language, the street musicians and those wee-oh, wee-oh emergency vehicle sirens (evocative of Euro-spy movies) remind you that you're not in Kansas or even LA anymore. The smells of cooking, and of varieties roses that were bred a few hundred years ago for color and fragrance, not for lack of thorns, as well as the aroma that hits you when you walk into one of the many fine chocolate shops are other unexpected pleasures.

The vast majority of Parisians we encountered were as nice as could be. In fact, some were downright friendly, to the extent of leaning over from the next table upon hearing us speak English (and mangle French) to ask where we were from and offer suggestions for dining or museums or art galleries or other attractions. My French was much rustier than I'd realized, and I often found myself scrambling to find the right words, but just about everyone at least knew enough English to allow communication to occur.

Regarding other images we 'Mercans have about Parisians, don't believe the hype about French women; they do too get fat. However, true to stereotype, they do tend to accessorize well, and scarves are ubiquitous. You really do see people walking down the street carrying a naked loaf of French bread, and sometimes even gnawing on it. The streets in many parts of the city are indeed charming and narrow, and many drive those cute little Smart cars. The food is really, really, really good. So is the wine. And the bread. And the chocolate.
Even with 8 days in the city, we feel as though we barely scraped the surface of all there is to see. We focused mostly on museums, restaurants and the usual tourist spots, though we realized as we were leaving we'd never actually walked over to the Arc D' Triomphe to look close up, nor had we set foot in the Marais district, and we explored the Latin quarter only very briefly after dinner one night. We devoted one day to visiting the Versailles Palace and Monet's house and gardens in Giverny (which was one of my very favorite things we did).
Stay tuned for Part Deux soon, in which I will pontificate on one particular aspect of our travels.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I'm picturing well accessorized Parisian women walking down the street eating bread and getting crumbs in their scarves.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

I have to imagine it happens. I guess they just shake the crumbs out when they get home.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I would imagine that one doesn't butter bread while walking down the street, so shaking out the crumbs should work.

12:07 PM  

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