Returned from Paris

Jan 10th, 2004, 08:22 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Returned from Paris

I had an amazing time in Paris over Christmas, and wanted to thank everyone who offered advice!! I wanted to provide some feedback for those planning a trip, and also attach some humorous observations. Thanks again!!

- Restaurants: Le Coup Chou (5th) was amazing! Low ceilings with exposed wood beams, and amazing food. The duck with peaches..ooh la la! Chez Matriz Paul (6th) was great, as was Cremerie Polidor (Polidor is much less expensive, tasty, no ambiance).
- Sights: Fontainbleau was definitely worth seeing! Loved the Arc, Sacre Coer, Notre Dame, Ste Chapelle, and St Etiene du Mond.. a small church next to the Pantheon. Amazing carvings and stained glass.
Hotel: I stayed in Hotel Cluny Square. The location was convenient, but very noisy, busy and touristy. Room had no quaintness (like a holiday inn), and while there is an elevator, you have to walk up a windy staircase to get there.

Humor:
-Tourists may as well wear a neon sign identifying them as a "touriste"
-No one is friendlier than a parisian man with a woman traveling alone.. expect for a married parisian!
-Many people in Paris speak English and will, after you butcher their beautiful language and they get a good laugh at you. Laugh along- then they are much more willing to help you with your "Frenglish."
-Don't ask for a glass of water, as they will bring you a shot glass sized glass. Ask for a carafe.
-Wine is cheaper than water (bottled). Ooh la la! What a wonderful country!
-A green walk light indicates that it's safe to cross a street, as long as no cars are coming!
-Personal space: you can meet some very nice people pressed up against your back in a line! ugh!
-Poor bosnian woman flock to paris to beg for money.. in Paris, the city of $10 cups of tea and hot chocolate!
-Beware of the WC (water closet/bathroom.) In some establishments, this consists of a 3X3 room with a hole in the ground and foot pads.
-The french are very into PDA (public displays of affection.) Walking down the street, you will see condom dispensers. They are also in the center of the Gare de Lyon train station. Perhaps it was good I went there in the winter.
-Walking a busy street is a lot like a game of chicken. You can ID the natives as the parisians aim directly at you (whereas in the US, if someone sees you coming in their path, they tend to step out of the way well before they reach you.) 9 times out of 10, you will lose the game of chicken. When you don't, you get "the look."
-When a parisian says that they only speak a little english, their english is better than your french. For that matter, their english is better than your english.
-Nothing is better than french foods: bread, wine, cheese, chocolate, crepes... and amazingly, there are very few overweight french people walking around in Paris.
-Laughter is international.
-French fries are the national food. Expect them to be served with everything, even at the nicest restaurants.
reddattitude is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 08:35 AM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi red,

Glad you enjoyed your trip

>Nothing is better than french foods:... and amazingly, there are very few overweight french people walking around in Paris. <

Yup, I lose weight whenever I visit. Something about the air.
ira is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip, and the french fries comment surprised me. I wonder if it is their reply to our 'American Fries' outburst? When we went a few years ago, we could not find french fries for out 8 year old daughter. She grew to love mashed potatoes that trip.
wsoxrebel is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:00 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi wsox,

I doubt that there is anything political about "patate frites". We found people eating them with pizza in Italy this past Autumn.

I'm surprised you couldn't find them when you were in France.
ira is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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"Personal space: you can meet some very nice people pressed up against your back in a line! ugh!"

I really laughed when I read that - hardly anyone ever mentions it and it's so true! Even after 6 years living in France, it still drives me crazy (they do it in Lyon too). People do it at the supermarket, in particular. There's nothing more horrid then queuing up to pay for your basket of groceries and feeling some stranger's breath on the back of your neck...

Incidentally, I learned that one of the reasons that southern Europeans are reputed to be pushy and "invasive", while Northern Europeans are said to be cold and unfriendly, is due to this issue of personal space. Our comfort zone is socially conditioned, and different societies perceive different distances as being polite/over-friendly/downright rude.

So the theory goes that an Italian, say, who meets a British person, will keep moving into the Brit's comfort zone in an attempt to establish a friendly distance, while the Brit will keep moving backwards or cringing to maintain what in his/her society is a polite distance.
hanl is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:45 AM
  #6  
 
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<When a parisian says that they only speak a little english, their english is better than your french. For that matter, their english is better than your english.>

Oh how true this is!! tee hee, great comments reddattitude!
Wendy is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 09:51 AM
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What a delight to read your happy, positive report. Even the criticisms are related quite charmingly. Don't lose your enthusiasm!
HowardR is offline  
Jan 10th, 2004, 04:35 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Welcome report, reddattitude. Thanks.

Howled at the shot glass, meet nice people observations.

As for condoms, I purchased several items at a regular bookstore in Honfleur this past autumn. I felt a bit awkard walking out onto the street with a big bag advertising LOVE in caps and a perforated envelope containing codoms hanging off the bottom!
klondike is offline  
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