Paris was a city of ups and downs, an adventure of self-discovery, and building self-tolerance and a test of patience. In a period of 2 weeks I’ve gone from misplaced hatred to respectful admiration of the city.
Anyhoo, here are some things Mark & I liked and didn’t like about Paris:
– Parisians’ culture and appreciation for the arts
– so many wonderful museums
– people really are friendly (we’ve had a random stranger help us buy a train ticket with his own credit card). The notion of “mean Parisian people” is a myth. I like to draw parallels to Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino–Parisians may act cold and frown a lot, but they are really helpful and cheery deep down.
– croissants and baguettes are so fresh, we loved eating then everyday
– delicious, wonderful cheese (we’ve taken a liking to camembert!), so cheap and readily available
– macaroons & meringues the size of my fist!
– real bonafide hot chocolate (chocolat chaud)
– the Metro signs and station entrances are a work of art themselves
– café culture
– the Metro is always on time, and very extensive
– the waiters (there’s no pretense of customer service, but it’s still there. they felt like real people, not fake)
– pop-up flea markets & ultra-wide sidewalks
– absinthe made in France
– French words are easily decipherable into English, there are a lot of similar words
– having a discussion with my host about what the English word for “compote” was, finding out the word was the same as in French, and then both of us still not really knowing what “compote” exactly means in either language
– everyone eats dinner late (8-9pm), so restaurants are open later
– every single person smokes (which unfortunately ruins the café experience for me since I have trouble breathing), and air quality from pollution is quite bad
– the Metro map is quite messy and not as clearly designed as the London Underground maps
– pickpockets and scam artists that harrass you on the street
– not a fault of Paris, but more like other tourists being disrespectful and touching stuff in museums. DON’T TOUCH THE GODDAMN PAINTING! If there is a crack on a 5,000 year-old artifact, DON’T TRY AND SCRAPE THE CRACK!
– that one guy randomly stopping in front of me on the street and peeing, without hiding, in broad daylight.