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Trip Report Paris V: fun stuff, clothes, food, getting around are getting around.

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Well, everybody always wants to know what They are wearing in Paris. The answer is, of course, almost anything. It varies by class, income and national origin. It does not necessarily vary by weather. It is spring so you wear spring clothes, if you have the, of course. So here are some HUGE generalizations I have observed in the past week. These are not universal as I have spent very little time in the 1st, 7th, or 8th.

Black has never left, but very bright colored, slim cut summer trousers -- red, green, brilliant blue, and magenta -- and shirts are very common on men and women of all ages, though the men are mostly younger. Business casual (jacket, no tie) has almost replaced suits for men. Both men and women are much given to winkle-picker shoes, with very long narrow toes. Both genders are into gingham in a big way. The men wear shirts like Orvis gingham shirts but with those short European collars. The women, usually young, are wearing gingham shirtwaists and sun dresses and sometimes look as if they are in a road company of "Oklahoma" but usually look adorable.

Young women are wearing a lot of jersey dresses or skirts, some sheer enough to be almost an overgarment to a lining or slip underneath. They are wearing ballet flats or sandals, flat or wedge, with these. I haven't seen anyone wearing gladiator sandals, but you may. Too warm for boots. Another thing I haven't seen are exercise clothes except on people actually exercising -- no yoga pants at all, no running tights except on runners, leggings pretty rare indeed and only on the youngest and slimmest.

Don't mistake me. There are people wearing Hawaiian shirts and Hawaiian shorts, sometimes at the same time, though not necessarily matching. The Bro look is alive and well, and there are guys in this neighborhood in flannel shirts who look like they just arrived from Seattle. Jeans are ubiquitous, very slim jeans on women. African women in traditional dress are common and very beautiful. Islamic women covering their hair are ubiquitous but unlike Boston, I haven't seen anyone in a chador, and though there are many South Asians and sari stores, I haven't seen anyone in a sari or shalwar kameez, both of which are common in Boston. Enough. If you have questions, I will give them a shot.

What are we eating? We are eating, with a few exceptions, the traditional food you find in bistros or cafes. Our diet has been heavy on pork and pork by-products, which I love; duck, usually confit, which I also love; bread. The diet is grossly deficient in vegetables, which are very expensive here, and heavy in bread, which is delicious here almost everywhere, both baguettes and pain de levain. We have only been served pommels frites once. Food is not particularly expensive for Northeasterners though might be for people from elsewhere. It continues to be true that eating a big meal at lunch is cheaper than the same thing for dinner. We had excellent sandwiches -- subs -- from one of the three bakeries on our block, €7 for two, much cheaper than home. We watched them be made. The worst meal I have had, perhaps the worst meal since college, was at the cafeteria at BHV, often touted as an inexpensive place to eat. My wife's was fine, mine horrible. My fault. I do admire the man in front of me who chose for his two sides an order of frites with mashed potatoes and gravy on top, low carb be damned. I am going into week 2 resolved to make better choices.

Finally, getting around. It is cheap, seriously cheap compared to Boston or New York. We took the Metro yesterday from Gare de l'Est to the Jardin Albert Kahn in the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, about 15 km, for one ticket, €1.41. We came back on the highly scenic Bus 72 and the interesting if less scenic Bus 38 on one ticket, because as long as you are going in the same direction, you can transfer from bust to bus on the same ticket, though there are time limits and you cannot transfer from Metro to bus as you can in Boston. If you were among the thousands bumping into each other yesterday between the Conciergerie and the Eiffel, give yoursel a break, buy a carnet and ride to the end of the line and back!

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