Sunday, July 21, 2013


No, not a photo I took!
At the end of June, Jim and I took our first trip to Paris. Aside from having tons of history and culture, Paris is home to some of my favorite artists and writers. Matisse made his mark here, as did other giants such as Picasso, Monet, Dali, and countless others. Great artistic movements, such as Impressionism and Fauvism, were born here. As for literature, there's Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emile Zola, Andre Gide, and so many others. Being part French, I was excited to visit the land of some of my ancestors.

As on most of our trips I'd made a laundry list of things to do and see, knowing that we could not possibly do it all. However, I feel it's best to have options and run out of time rather than run out of things to do. We were on the go almost all day, everyday. While we worked the metro system, we believe walking is the best way to absorb a city's spirit. Plus Parisian cafe-style restaurants make people watching easy. Long story short, we had a fantastic time in the City of Lights and we were totally wiped out by the end of the trip.

Some broad takeaways:

  • Rude French People - I didn't find people in Paris rude. They could be abrupt, but that's often true of people in Europe generally. I think this is a myth propagated by tourists who earn the rude treatment they receive.
  • Ugly Americans - Not so much, but I could often spot Americans based on their clothing. Our "come as you are" attitude towards attire stands out in fashionable Paris. Ultimately, however, I think the British dress worse than we do.
  • Through the Eyes of a Cell Phone - There are a lot of people who experience the world through their cell phones. Whether we were on top of the Eiffel Tower, in front of the Mona Lisa, or sailing down the Seine, there were people who didn't look at anything. They just took pictures or a video and then moved on. Insane! 
  • The Fashion Capital - Paris lived up to its reputation for fashion. The men are gorgeous, even when they are roughing it. They exude an effortless chic, and I was eyeing their clothes and shoes for ideas about how to polish my appearance. 
  • Great Wine - The wines were wonderful, and we enjoyed them with almost every dinner (and a few lunches).
  • Great Food - Good marks here, including treats from the bakeries scattered all across the city. That said, in my opinion, the French don't 'get' pizza. At all.
  • Romance - Yes, it is romantic in Paris. Jim even gave me a kiss while we were walking through a park from the Eiffel Tower at night!

I'll be posting photos of our travels over the next few weeks.

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