Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Week Forty-Seven One Half: Day Three: The trip home, Thoughts on Paris

This time, the trip through the countryside was conducted in daylight hours, and it was as green and beautiful as promised. When I say green, I don't mean green forest mind, but rolling green hills. This was a bright and lovely green indeed. It figures, of course, the sun would finally shine on our way out!

There wasn't honestly much to see however. Most of France lives in Paris, and those that don't tend to live in either the suburbs of Paris, or on farms. There is, according to our guide, very little else.

There was, at this one odd point, evenly space tie dye balls on wire on one side of the road, and tie dye blocks set into the opposite hill. I was both amused and curious, but the guide didn't know, so no answer there. Still, it was interesting, and they had obviously been there awhile, so maybe one day I'll find out.

That's essentially why I can include both halves here.

Paris was a beautiful, city, even without the sun shining on it, and at the tale end of winter. It was still chilly enough to need my winter coat at points, but still very nice. They are an active city, from what I saw, and while not as bike friendly as Amsterdam, there were still rental bike stands in several places, and I think it may be rental bikes, rather than owning a bike, which is preferred.

Most of the city, thanks to careful planning, is not what we might consider a tall city, but it is certainly a sprawling city, as far as I could see from the Eiffel Tower. I don't recall seeing an end in sight! Though, of course, there are many suburbs nearby as well, including Versailles.

There is so much to see in Paris that you could live there a year and not see half of it. So much history, so much beauty!

However, it is a pricey city to visit. When it comes to souvenirs, don't count on spending less than 5 Euro, unless you want a 2 Euro postcard. The Louvre, and the illegal and frighteningly persistent souvenir hawkers, offer decent souvenirs at decent prices, but that's about it.

The beautiful city does have it's downsides though. Streets are often narrow, as are most streets in Europe, and traffic is a beast. Public transportation seemed decent enough however, and if visiting, you might be able to get around on that, to be certain. The guide seemed to think so at least!

The people in Paris were polite, but very firm in things being in a particular order. They were not, as a rule, loud, or very friendly, but they were certainly polite, and understanding. At the tourist locations, someone who works there will speak rudimentary English, though this isn't guaranteed at any restaurants, where they likely won't. Or may pretend not to.

As for shopping in Paris. Call me when you're rich baby. The prices are exorbitant anywhere you are likely to find. I'm sure at the 'local' places prices are decent, but elsewise? Yeah not so much. However you are certain to find brand name and one of a kind pieces of fashion that you won't get anywhere else.

The graffiti though! Bleck! Argh! Yuck! Name, name, name, name, name, name, names! Everywhere names. Here a name there a name, every where you look a name! Of non-name graffiti I saw...a fire hydrant, Bart Simpson, and a series of pictures on utility boxes. The utility box pictures were the best, the fire hydrant cute and cartoon-y, and Bart was, in fake a near perfect likeness. Other than that, I saw stenciled graffiti, and names. Everywhere.

I understand you can make your name as bubbly as a hyperactive sixth grader who just discovered the art of bubble letters, and you can add stars, stripes and what have you, but...


I suppose it is artistic, but it's also narcissistic.

One Girl's Byte: Pickiest Graffiti Connoisseur on Earth: Found Right Here!

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