We’re back from Paris now. Feet hurt. There were travel problems coming back, because that happens every time we take a vacation, but we still managed to get home by about 2AM last night. We had a great time, and will have stories for years to come.
In any event I have a small Moleskine full of notes on the trip, and I’ll transcribe some of that to the web within a few days time, but I thought I’d post a few summary thoughts.
First, Paris is beautiful in the winter. It’s amazing to walk around a town where everything is old, huge buildings run for miles in the same architectural style, and fantastic palaces and parks fill it out. It’s beautiful at day, during a storm, and at night. You see old buildings from time to time in the states, but not constantly with such grace as is everywhere in Paris; places that are older than the United States are cool.
Second, everybody in Paris was extremely nice, and we experienced no anti-American sentiment. We are far less tolerant of them than they are of us, and we should be ashamed. While we often switched to English at the shops, restaurants, and so forth (Sarah’s French is passable, but thickly accented, and most people figured out pretty fast that we were American), those attempts were rewarded with consistent kindness. We even saw a case where Sarah’s saying little more than “Hello” in Paris made my crepe come out perfectly, whereas the dolt after us just came in and asked if he spoke English without even saying hello, and received a burned monstrosity. I think there is a huge misconception among people who think the French are mean, selfish, or rude towards foreigners.
Third, Paris tastes great. I have no idea how I will ever enjoy a simple sandwich or piece of bread back home, ever again. Much of my notes revolve around food, so you’ll have to suffer through that.
Fourth, the amount of art in Paris is astounding. Overwhelming. Wonderful.
Anyhow, more to come. Happy New Year’s in the meantime.