To be specific, Greenbean went to Paris.
That Paris. Oui!
And now, for some observations and pics. Per my usual, I have broken these down into categories.
- I was expecting French people to be rude, given all I’d read and heard. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We found the French delightful, conversational, fun, jovial, and good-humored. The only rude people we encountered were tourists from other countries–and I’m taking to you rude American woman who cut in line with your two loud-mouth children at Notre Dame.
- Also, the French are a well-put-together group of people. They dress well, carry themselves well, love uniforms, and are incredibly fit. The only overweight people we saw were . . . tourists.
- But . . . the French smoke. A lot. We were unable to get away from the noxious fumes of cigarette smoke. It seemed specifically bad in restaurants. No one was smoking indoors, but it was summer and windows were open and sidewalk cafes and . . . fumes!
- Most everyone spoke English. We never had a problem communicating.
- My new favorite cheese is camembert. Love that stuff. They serve it after the meal to cleanse the palate. Yum.
- Oh, and crepes. I had a honey crepe in front of the weird obelisk at Concorde. The guy who made it was funny and wore a little hat.
- Duck confit. I had it twice. The ducks on the lake better watch out, because I might just have to try and make that at home.
- Baguettes. Every. Meal.
- The coffee was good, but they don’t give you a lot of it.
- I ate the snails, but wasn’t specifically enamored with them. They tasted earthy to me, like some varieties of uncooked mushrooms.
- Perhaps my favorite was the macarons. I especially liked the pistachio.
- The Eiffel Tower is really tall. Four hundred feet taller than my beloved Space Needle and five hundred feet taller than the Washington Monument. Of all the things we saw, it was the hardest to navigate the lines, waiting, and the top. It was so crowded at the top that it wasn’t as enjoyable as you’d expect.
- We did the Louvre in one day, and we saw all the floors and all the exhibits. All. The. Things. The big time exhibits were nice, like the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, but the Egyptian exhibit and the paintings on the top floor (where no one else was) were some of my favorites.
- We visited Notre Dame, but my favorite was Sacra Coeur in Monmarte. I actually had a genuine spiritual experience there. It was nice, and unexpected.
- We skipped Versailles.
- It took a while, but we eventually conquered The Metro. I think I’m as much an expert on the Metro right now as a tourist from another country can be.
- The Louvre is monumental, but the D’Orsay is more enjoyable because its size is manageable.
- One of the highlights of our trip was watching the new Mission Impossible film, most of which was filmed in Paris, in Paris! That was way cool. The best part was the commercial before the movie started for a doctor who specialized in lice removal.
- I thought Delta provided great service getting there and back. Charles De Gaulle Airport is easy to navigate.
- I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Latin District and the night time boat ride on the Seine. Both were extremely pleasant.
- We’d been told that going in August would be a drag because people would be gone and the shops would be closed. We didn’t experience that at all. Everything was open and the weather was perfect.
- On the plane ride home I read a great book, Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, A Martyr In Mao’s China. I’ll probably blog about it tomorrow.
- The French way of having supper late, like around nine at night agrees with me.
- The picnic we had by the fountain under the Eiffel Tower will stay with me as one of the sweetest memories with my family.
And now, some pics!