Despite popular belief, Parisians are not, in fact, all assholes. Every Parisian we interacted with was lovely. It wasn't my first time there either; it was my third visit to Paris and I've found that to be true each time. I think that the reason that so many Americans seem to think Parisians are jerks is because Parisians are actually quite friendly and accommodating, and as a result they lose patience really fast with people who do not return the same courtesies. Americans are typically known in Europe as rude and oblivious travelers, though in fairness I don't think we mean to be. But, and obviously I'm stereotyping us here, our habit of not trying to understand the customs or the languages of the places we travel to is fairly considered to be pretty asinine. There are cultural and geographical reasons for our seemingly built-in xenophobia and obtuseness, however when leaving your home and entering another's, it's not unreasonable for the host to expect a little understanding that things are done differently there and that while it may be their duty to make us feel welcome, it's our duty to try and fit in.
So that's our lecture for today kids. God I'm getting preachy in my old age. Aw who'm I kidding, I've always been preachy. ANYway, obviously after hitting Barcelona Julie and I night trained it up to Paris. As I said I'd visited a few times before, but Julie hadn't and as it is quite a lovely honeymoon destination, we hit that. We were there for three days. What can I say about Paris though? It's a beautiful city, with a crap ton of cool stuff to do. You might find it odd that after having said that, I pretty much only have pictures of the Sacre Coeur church to post.
There's a good reason for that. Paris was bloody cold. Actually from here on out, the rest of our trip was bloody bloody bloody bloody cold. It wasn't often that I had the gumption to pull my camera out of the bag. But the Sacre Coeur has a special signifigance for Julie and me. She's had a painting by Maurice Utrillo of a street scene on her wall in her bedroom for many years; It had belonged to her Nana and she'd always loved it. She would stare at it and wish she could enter the painting and go there, but she never knew what or where it was. Not until I once had occasion to see the painting myself whereupon I said to her "Hey, that looks like the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. I've been in that exact spot. Cool picture."
It's possibly a little more commercial in that spot nowadays than it was in Utrillo's day. But still a cool looking scene. So of course this was one of our most important must-do's on our honeymoon. Julie said it was quite surreal to stand in this spot after all those years of staring at it and wishing she could go there, but perhaps she will wish to comment more on that herself. At any rate, of course we went back there at night when shops were closed and no one else was out, mostly because it was snowing and was bloody bloody bloody bloody cold. But very attractive.
We did do other stuff in Paris of course. But posting photos of paintings in the Louvre is rather dull. There were still a crap ton of people in the Mona Lisa room. Probably the same ones who were there last time I was there. However we did pass by proof that all of the paintings there are fake stand-ins. They train 'em right there, during normal business hours!
Another very, very important aspect of Paris was the food. You can not go wrong in Montmartre. We hadn't had the greatest food luck in Lisbon or Spain; the Tapas were kind of nasty. I think we just picked bad places somehow though. But everything we ate in Paris was awesome. That stereotype is absolutely true. Julie sated a yen for Foie Gras and I sated a yen for Creme Brulee, along with many other italicized satiations and some great wine. The only bad experience was at this one trendy fondue place. The fondue was delicious, but the restaurant itself was a bit unpleasant. It was tightly packed with squealing young foreigners, Julie was forced to stand on the table to get over to her seat where she became quite literally booby-trapped for the evening, and in a final indignity they served their passable house wine in baby bottles which is exactly where I drew the line. I immediately took the lid off as I have a snobby attitude toward wine which tastes of rubber nipple.
I'm not really sure what exactly the gimmick was supposed to be. So then Parisians may not all be assholes, their food may be all kinds of awesome, but they are also kind of weird sometimes. Anyway, we also hit Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, of course. And the catacombs. Gotta hit the catacombs. Because miles of human bones deep underground are cool.
And that's pretty much our Paris trip. I left stuff out, such as the five story spiral staircase we had to climb three to four times a day, and the unforced evacuation of the Louvre which we did not participate in, or the Christmas concert in Notre Dame, but really those are just details which are better kept between ourselves.
One post closer to Krampus! Sorry it's taking so long to get there. Busy time of year and all that. Here's the next teaser pic.