Sunday, 10 January 2010

At last, Paris

First impressions. Busy, like London, but it's got that happy Latin/African feel to it and all the shit that comes along with it. It's dirty and disorganised, but so much more charming and beautiful.

All that I heard is true. Parisians really don't like speaking English to you if they can avoid it (even though they might know it), except those closely working with tourists, as it's easy to understand. A polite "Do you speak English?" with a huge smile on the side will likely be met with scorn. Good time to put my Français to good use then!

Aside from the cold, the lousy coffee, and the alarmingly large number of tourists, Paris was great. Who wouldn't like to spend their days walking around the quaint little streets of Montmartre, going from boulangerie to museum to café to the Champs Élysées to fromagerie and back to a restaurant for some tasty magré de canard? Also, I don't know why people complain about the service in France though, as we got great (albeit a bit slow) service. Waiters would even speak English to us! Best of all, no tipping, which I love as there is no need to work out whether the waiter deserves to get 10%, 12.5%, 20%, or god knows what.

The Louvre was amazing and apparently another 10,000 other tourists agreed with me. It's a truly impressive building and you should really lose yourself there for days if you want to do it justice. Alas, the day I was there the place was packed beyond belief. It took us over one hour just to get in through the door. Everyone had to queue next to the main "attractions". The Mona Lisa in particular had so many overly excited people around it holding up their cameras above the crowd that the room had a Leicester Square blockbuster premier feel, as if La Gioconda herself had jumped out of the frame and was walking down the red carpet. Surreal. Damn you, Dan Brown and all your bad writing.

All in all though, it was a week of very good food and great sightseeing despite the cold. Paris does live up the hype and I certainly look forward to going back there when it’s warmer and I can walk the Parisian streets leisurely and not worry about the stupid freezing wind in my face.

1 comment: said...

Sounds like I really need to work on my Français before buying the tickets:))