Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Je t'aime Paris

I love Paris.

No, it's not because the cute hostess at the Italian Restaurant said in French that I "parlez beau français" (speak beautiful French) and winked at me. (She also rubbed the same eye later, but I'm pretty sure she winked.)

It's not because the architecture here is AMAZING.

It's not because the food is pretty Damn good.

It's not because the Seine river romantically flows gracefully through the city.

And it's not because the artwork and museums are world class.

But it might be because my cute tour guide was giving me seductive glances and winks throughout our cruise on the Seine River. (Ok, might be because the sun was hitting her right in the eyes, but I'm pretty sure we visually connected ;)

I definitely want to move to Paris for a little while and perfect my French. I studied for 4 years in school (and some time after school as well) and it's amazing how fast it comes back. I speak enough to "get by" and have a pretty darn good conversation with a 3 year old, but I will be toddler level speaking by the time I leave. The advantage I have though is that my accent is in fact very good and perfectly understandable. I just need to refresh my verb conjugation and beef up my vocab.

As for what we've done/seen in Paris, the list is exhaustive. We did all of the standard tourist stuff (Tour d'Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Cathedral Notre Dame, Le Louvre, Palaise de Versailles) as well as some non-typical stuff (Musee' d'Orsee', Musee' Rodin, Montmartre, Seine Cruise, etc).

I've walked all over the city, and just for good measure, ridden the metro, bus, train, RER, and taxi. I've had croisant and cafe' au lait everyday for breakfast, and enjoyed Berthillion ice cream for after dinner dessert. I've had traditional French fair and French-Thai food (a little different than Pad Thai on the menu!).

I've had Frech wine and French Crepes. I'm telling you, I've done it all...and I still have a week left. Tomorrow, we leave for Normandy - our first stop in touring the West coast/countryside of France.

There are some peculiarities I've noticed thus far though:

  • Things are REALLY expensive. A "Coke Light" ranges from 2-4 Euros (2.50 - 6.00 dollars). A scoop of ice cream? 5 bucks. A coffee? Anywhere from 4-7 dollars. Ridiculous.
  • Tip is included in restaurant prices (which are exorbitant as well). I guess that's good.
  • When you pay the bill by credit card, they bring the machine over to your table and ring you up there and take the receipt. There's no taking the credit card to a hidden station, running it, and leaving it at your table to sign at leisure.
  • Soda refills are NOT free (I learned the hard way by paying 4 euros [6 bucks] for a refill in the restaurant at the Louvre). In fact, most places don't even have a fountain machine. (Speaking of which, have you ever notice that NO Thai restaurants in the U.S. have soda machines and always serve soda by the can?)
  • People eat late (so did we).
  • The French LOVE to party. We are staying on the Ile Saint Louis near the Seine and it seems like every night, there is a party going on on the streets.
  • The French get a bad rap for being rude. I've encountered pretty much no rudeness (or at least, no more than in the states). My speaking decent French may help, but my Mom usually asks questions in English and people have been pretty helpful.
  • The French deserve the rap they get from their lack of deodorant usage. Paris is infested with Smelly McSmellersons.
  • Every website on my computer is showing up in French and I'm too tired to figure out how to fix this. My Google automatically goes to "Google French". My spell check is highlighting every word in this post because it's checking for "Francaise". So, forgive me if this post is sloppy (as opposed to my normal perfection ;)
So, admittedly, I haven't posted as frequently as I intended. We've been out and about pretty much all the time so I haven't had a lot of down time. I also haven't uploaded my pictures to my compy yet (except for the "Cave of Wines" I took with my phone at the grocery store. Seriously, every grocery should have one of these. In the U.S., it'd be the "Cave du Bieres")

Tomorrow, we're headed for Normandy. Then the rest of the Western coast/countryside. It'll be interesting to REALLY experience France, away from the Urbanized setting.

More updates to come!


Anonymous said...

how about a chocolate eclair my good fellow

Ryan Lavering said...

Haha, "Smelly McSmellersons." Magnifique! Dore and I got into the habit of speaking euphemistically of "tourists" whenever we encountered a particularly smelly and/or overweight individual in our travels. :-)

Have fun in Normandy! If you're looking for places to go, I recommend the town of Bayeux and the American D-Day memorial at Omaha Beach, but there's great stuff all around.