It was a week I’ll never forget.. Tossing myself into a brand new culture that is pretty cultured. Some thoughts that struck me as I was leaving…
No body drinks milk in Paris. I was wondering how a week with no milk would affect me until I realized that I probably ate cheese with every meal. So much for the non-dairy diet.
Only once during the week did I even see ice cubes in a glass. I should have taken a picture.
Napolean’s Tomb is also the home of the Army Museum. There are displays from medieval times through the present. There have been wars on the continent from medieval times to the recent past. It seems to me that these people have been fighting and carving each other up for over a thousand years.
So, for as elegant and advanced as civilization seemed to be in Europe through the years it was also a down and dirty warlike place that erupted every couple of years. To what end?
Had to stay an extra day due to airline mismanagement and incompetence. Spent my last night in Paris in an airport hotel. Saw a kid show from Britain called ” Shipwreck Rummage” and that’s pretty much how I felt by the time I was ready to leave.
I cleared security and got myself back together only to find that the escalator from the security level leads right into a huge department store which you have to walk through to get the departure gates. It was as though I was dumped into the perfume section of Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and Neiman- Marcus combined. I was pretty dumbfounded as I had, at this point, being a day late and a lot of euros in the hole in no mood for advertising, buying and or selling.
The departure lounge slowly began to fill up as we all waited for our flights to either Philadelphia, Charlotte or a third location that escapes me now. I’m minding my own business trying to drink in the last of France when I notice the following:
An American family is headed home. One of the kids pulls a handful of euros out of his pocket and says,” Dad, I guess we’d better burn these before we get on the plane” like he’s holding Monopoly play money in his hand. I think that the Dad could well afford to have junior have a last fling at a souvenir or two. ” Burn these?” Really?
I know what those euros are worth and I know what dollars are worth. They are separate and not equal.
And so for a final wrap – I did get to see the English Channel from Juno Beach which was the Canadian sector on D- Day. It all seems so peaceful now compared to what was arguably the most pivotal day of the 20th century, June 6, 1944.
Saw lots of pretty women, lots and lots of the Metro and more cathedrals than I can recall.
I always felt safe despite never seeing any police presence except for the armed soldiers patrolling the airport and the Eiffel Tower.
A week is only enough time to barely scratch the surface of Paris. The main events like Notre Dame and the Louvre are wonderful. But it was the NOT main events that fascinated and intrigued me. It was the small tree lined streets, cafes and shops. It was the people I saw away from the tourist attractions.
The first item on almost every menu under appetizers is a dish called ” Oeuf’s et Mayonaise” with oeuf’s being eggs. Eggs, lettuce and tomatoes everywhere.
Crepes for lunch, omelets for dinner. There is no shortage of ways to shove ham into any meal. One night I almost ordered ” Bull’s Nose” for dinner which I assume was actually the nose of a bull. These people will eat anything.
The cows say ” Mheur” and ducks say ” Coin, Coin.” Pronounce the C like a Q and it actually works. I did tire of eating in restaurants every day but with one’s own kitchen it’s a completely different experience.
Paris – Flying buttresses and smartphones in the shadow of Notre Dame. The technology of the Eiffel Tower and thousands of black motorcycles.
Paris must have been really swell when cars and busses did not clog the streets.
Still, it was a terrific experience and I’m so glad I went. The planning went a little bit out the fenetre but was it Joni MItchell who wrote ” In Paris, they kiss on Main Street.” And they do.
Landed with 30 Euro in pocket which I exchanged for $34.50 American US dollars.
I would say that you oughta go to Paris at least once. Maybe some day I can be like the retired couple I met and stay for six weeks.
If you go, get a guidebook and a map. Plan as best you can and assume pickpockets are working the crowd.