Friday, January 20, 2012


Paris.  The city of love - one of the reasons I was not excited to go to there.  Growing up, I'd always heard all these romantic notions about Paris.  In cartoons and movies I watched as a kid, the French were often portrayed as being romantics, who were stuck up and had funny accents.  As I got older, most of the people who ever mentioned wanting to go to Paris were young girls, who often saw the city as romantic, as a place to fall in love.  I never liked these youthful notions of Paris and love.  I didn't want to fall for such a naive dream.  When I got even older, adults around me would talk of visiting the famous city, and said that the French were rude, that they hated Americans, and that the city smelled.

While the French are rude (I prefer the word 'short' or 'blunt'), the city does smell (especially the metro), and PDA is everywhere (and going strong), I found Paris to be, not a place to fall in love, but a place to fall in love with.  For some it might be a long, steady love affair.  For me, it is more of a passionate, short lived fling.  But not one that ends badly.  More so one that is cut short by the practical things in life - time, money, distance.  But my love affair with Paris is a fling I'd love to fall into again.

I loved Paris for the simple reason that it was easy to be alone there.  When I went, I did visit a friend of mine who was living there at the time (though I traveled there and stayed in a hostel alone, since she couldn't house me).  Having her as a guide to Paris (and as a translator) definitely helped start me off on the right foot in the city.  Without her guiding hand of how things were done there, of what places were worth seeing, and her never ending help of telling me how to get around, I may have disliked Paris and become more frustrated with it.  Thanks to her help, I was given an American's inside opinion of Paris - both the good and the bad, to be taken for what it was, not some romantic ideal.  Also, since I was traveling alone, I thoroughly enjoyed those moments I had to myself.  It was a very easy city to be alone in.  I could walk around the streets, stop in cafes and drink coffee, wander around and contemplate whatever needs contemplating in life.  No one stopped me in the streets and it wasn't too crowded to feel claustrophobic.  In cafes, the waiters that might seem "rude" were rather just short and to the point, and once I was settled, they left me alone until I called them over.  There was no checking on me, no nagging me for my table.  I was left to enjoy the food, to enjoy the atmosphere, and to write or read when I had my notebook or novel out.

Now, to the pictures...I have a couple more blogs coming soon with some other things I did in Paris.  Top of my list of things to do was to go to Shakespeare & Company - the American bookstore that used to be run by George Whitman before he passed away, but that has a separate post - so be sure to look for that one next!

As for the not-so literary things I did in Paris, here are some photos, as usual:

Paris Streets in the Latin Quarter
Notre Dame

Inside of Notre Dame

Notre Dame and the Seine
Statue of Charlemagne - which, thanks to my recent Early Medieval European History class I took in England, I finally know who he is.

Toasted baguettes and a very good, but way too sweet nutella coffee drink.

Mushroom, cheese, & egg crepe with a little bit of hot sauce.  So delicious!
Centre Pompidou

The Philosopher's Cafe

Bastille & Opera House

Eiffel Tower

Sweet coffee drink at a cafe :)

La Sacre Coeur

View from the top of the hill where the Sacre Coeur was.



I don't mean to look so sad or scared, haha.  Mostly just tired from traveling.

Nutella & banana crepe.
Capoeira performance.

I had a pretty good view of the show ;)

Stairs leading to and from La Sacre Coeur.

Moulin Rouge (Kind of underwhelming.)

Arc de Triomphe

Champ Elysees (reminds me of Market Street in San Francisco...only a lot wider, with more posh stores).

Macaroon - very sweet but very good!

French bakery

Salmon quiche.

Chocolate croissant.
Au revoir Paris!
All in all, I would love to go to Paris again.  Partially for the museums I missed.  Partially for the food.  But mostly for the chance to be alone, and to read and write.  To feel that I don't have a care in the world apart from what to order, where to sit, and where to wander later in my day.  I would not go back to Paris for the shopping, for the tourist sights, but for the atmosphere, the picturesque city streets, and the chance to be alone and think.

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