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Paris, France–Day Un (That’s “one” in French)

Site News, Uncategorized - by - September 3, 2011 - 00:30 UTC - Be first to Comment!

As you can tell from the title of my post, I am already breaking down any social, economic, or political barriers between the United States and France. Knowledge has been exchanged at an alarming rate, between myself and the everyday Frenchman/women. Be weary, World. Pete Livingston might just bring you all together.

France is a wonderful city. Every stereotype you’ve read, heard, or seen in movies and television is true. There is B.O., a lot of cigarette smoking (more than America), and an abundance of crazy drivers and park jobs. Cafes are, almost literrally, every other building. Tiny tabletops and chairs are packed along sidewalks while people lounge about, drinking coffee and espresso while eating their lunch. Chocolate shops are frequent, as are boulangeries (bread/pastry shops). According to our cab driver, and from what we’ve read, there isn’t a huge difference in the Cafes of France. You just sort of pick one and do your thing.

I didn’t really know what to expect in France, but so far it seems very San Franciscan. It is a lot of new mixed with old. If you’ve ever been down by the water, in San Francisco, then you know what I’m talking about. Renovated flats, old buildings transformed into restaurants, that kinda deal. There are a lot of one way streets and parking is at a premium. It is probably just as chaotic to navigate the streets of France as it is San Francisco, but there are similarities to simply things. There are main streets that run the length of France, think Market and Geary, and if you can get to those streets then you’ll be ok in finding your location and destination. The Seine River also acts as a central “street”, as it seems to split the city in half, and can be used as an obvious landmark. Like any other big city, there is a shit-ton of random construction going on everywhere and bits of graffiti, flyers, and the occasional beggar/gypsy.

I strangely feel at home, here. I don’t necessarily mean that I would want to live here, but I feel comfortable in Paris. Its not a scary place, it doesn’t feel dangerous, etc. Paris is not entirely off the charts different than any other big city I’ve been to. I don’t mean that in a bad way, or mean to disenchant “The City of Love”, I just mean to say that France is very nice and isn’t in your face, or over the top (so far). I have not felt culture shock, necessarily, outside of getting used to the Euro. As long as you make feeble attempts to speak French, people think you’re pretty cool. They, in turn, will try to speak english with you. Feel free to laugh at them. Or don’t, because that is kinda rude.

I have already scaled the Eiffel tower. It was a very cool experience. Seeing the Eiffel tower, for me, was not the shining moment of my life. I was never one of those people who had “see the Eiffel Tower” on my bucket list but I had to see it. It is a wonderful structure. No, my heart did not melt upon my eyes first gaze, and I didn’t go weak in the knees, but I did think, “Damn. That is one hell of an impressive tower.” I recommend climbing the stairs for the first two tiers rather than take an elevator to the very top for a couple of reasons:

1.  You have a chance to read a lot of great information about Mr. Eiffel

2. you get a chance to see the foundation of the Eiffel Tower as you climb 600+ stairs over the course of two tiers.

3. Nice litte workout.

4. The line to climb stairs is a lot shorter than waiting for an elevator.

The views are nothing short of spectacular. The crowded tiers are definitely short of spectacular. Its all fun in the end, I guess. You just go with the flow and enjoy where you can.  If you’re in Paris, by all means, go to the Eiffel Tower. Its cheap, its worldly, and you get to be around a lot of B.O. So don’t pass that up.

Between the first and second tier, we came across an information board that (for whatever reason) was covered in graffiti! People signed, drew pictures, whatever. So I took the liberty to give our blog a little love:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stayed late and walked back to our hotel, but before stopping for dinner. Dinner was pretty good. Dinner is expensive in Paris, I’ll say this much. I had chicken over rice with some mushroom sauce. The rice was plain, but the mushroom sauce was great. Chicken, pretty good. You have to combine everything to get the best flavor; that is what I discovered. Chelsea got a nice whole fish. We got a little table wine, which was tasty, paid our bill and bounced.

We went to sleep, for we were tired, and jet lagged, and American, and jet lagged, and tired.

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