Reflections on Paris
Paris is not exactly my favourite city, but not the worst either! Sometimes when one goes there one is impressed by the snobby nose-in-the-air attitude of the Parisians and the next time they seem to be not so bad. I do think however, that many of the streets are very much the same, the same colours, the same feel, the same architecture, the same looking bars, with their rattan seats outside round small tables, the grocery stores with their trays of grapes, apples and oranges and so on. And then there are the wide open spaces of Haussmann, along the Seine, towards Les Invalides and from The Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, which are of course impressive and are really what Paris is all about.
It is difficult to avoid re-tracing one's previous steps around Paris - wandering around Le marais, eating a falafel at Chez Marianne, happy hour at Cox Bar, Centre Pompidou (ooh la la!), Notre Dame, Rive Gauche, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, Amelie cafe, The Louvre, pyramid and gardens and, of course, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc. The order changes from year to year, of course. I am sure there are many other thiungs to be doing, such as outdoor markets, museums and so on, just one doesn't exactly know where.
Some things are very expensive, some less so. A hotel room, albeit without a shower, for less than € 30, but a cup of coffee or a small glass of beer for € 3.60, ration of 9:1, where in Amsterdam a hotel room will cost at least € 80 and a coffee or glass of beer € 1.80, a ratio of 44:1, quite a difference! Food can be cheap - from the € 4 for a kebab with chips or an excellent falafel, or a 3-course menu for € 12. They get you though with the drinks - € 6 for a bottle of water, € 4 for a glass of beer and so on....
So with a bit of planning, it can be very cheap, but try to spoil yourself and it can be a financial disaster! And you can be lucky or unlucky. Some of the menus may look good, but the food being served can be terrible, an insult to French cooking... like the (fatty) 'steak' with (runny) gorgonzola sauce at the Corsican restaurant. On the other hand, something as simple as an avocado salad, can be made into a sublime dish, with the right presentation and the addition of a delicious vinaigrette/dressing.
Anyway, it was a lovely long weekend. The Parisians not particularly more or less friendly than normal. The weather was good.... mostly a cloudy morning, brightening up to give warm sunshine for the afternoon, also typical for this time of year. Fred is going to Paris in two weeks with school but does not see much point in me joining him as eh will be too busy with teh children. A pity, as a retrun would cost only € 65 against the € 100 I paid for a single back to Amsterdam. Oh well!