Bonjour! I guess I went AWOL there for a few days, didnâ€™t I? Sorry about that. Our hotel in Paris had wifi, but we were never able to get it working on my laptop. There was a computer in the lobby for hotel guests, but the computer keyboard was a bit different than here in the U.S. and, well, letâ€™s just say that me doing just quick Facebook checks every evening caused me to curse furiously under my breath in both English AND French. So, letâ€™s talk about Paris, shall we? We left London early on Tuesday morning and took the train across the English Channel. I am pleased to announce that, contrary to one member of my householdâ€™s fears, the Chunnel did not flood while we were in it and we did not die, so thatâ€™s a good thing.
We got to Paris around lunch time and, after ditching our luggage at our hotel, walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. Then we walked more. And more and more and more. Seriously, we were all over the place the first day. I just mapped our first dayâ€™s walking and we clocked in around seven miles. Needless to say, between the early wake up and all the walking, we were back in our room by 5:00 and asleep rather early. On Wednesday, we learned how to use the Metro and from then on, were smarter about our walking. Luckily, we were able to fortify ourselves with bread and croissants and crepes and various other French carbs. Like, three meals a day. We also consumed a fair amount of chocolate and cheese. By our second day in Paris — and one week into our trip — both girls were asking for fruit and tall glasses of milk. So what did we think of Paris? Itâ€™s very much like New York. The best way I can describe this is to say that the French are not afraid to use their car horns, often and with much enthusiasm. Also, you would not believe how many motorcycles and scooters there are in Paris. A lot of people use them to get around. Parisian scooters sound very similar to a common yard tool used in the U.S., so when you get a bunch of them revving up and down Rue Blah dâ€™Blah, it sounds like the worldâ€™s largest leaf blower convention.
As much as I like walking and seeing urban landscapes, Paris is a bit tricky, thanks to Baron Haussmanâ€™s major urban planning project in the 1860s, when he leveled entire blocks and redesigned roads and architecture. The result is that there are no basic square intersections where two roads meet; itâ€™s always at least four roads meeting, with lots of diagonals. Oh, and streets change names every few blocks, just to confuse things more. Plus, all the architecture is the same — and I do mean the same — so itâ€™s a bit difficult to get oneâ€™s bearings.
Neither girl commented on this statueâ€™s, ahem, attributes. Or any other nude art, for that matter. Odd.
All that said, I would like to say that Paris is a lovely city and the people were very nice. Yes, you read that correctly. Not once did we encounter a rude or snooty French person. In fact, some were very helpful to us. I donâ€™t know what the French words are for “fat ugly American” but Iâ€™m pretty sure I didnâ€™t hear them said in my general direction. In fact, on Thursday, as we were leaving, a French man saw me struggling with one of our suitcases on the Metro and offered to help me. Will we go back? Definitely at some point. Thereâ€™s still so much that weâ€™d like to see and do and three days was simply not enough. On the other hand, itâ€™s easy to get fatigued by all the seeing and doing, so Iâ€™m glad that we just hit some highlights in our three days and didnâ€™t worry about cramming in as much as possible.
Yes, I know heâ€™s wearing shorts. He made it two days and was so miserable from the heat that I took pity on him.
So now weâ€™re back in England for the final leg of our journey. As I type this, itâ€™s 3 a.m. on Friday. The rest of my crew is asleep in the hotel room and I need to catch a few Zzzzzzzzâ€™s myself. In the morning — no, just a handful of hours from now — weâ€™ll be up again and doing something new. This time, weâ€™re leaving the big cities behind and heading west to the countryside to visit friends. I will post again when I can. XO from England!