Paris feels as familiar to me as New York once did. It has that same ‘I’ve-been-here-before-haven’t-I feel. The buildings are all iconic. Even though it’s my first time here, I already had an image of Paris firmly imprinted in my mind.
Hell – don’t we all?
The cafes in the buildings spill out onto the streets where people drink, smoke and watch other people watching them. The landscape reminded me of Jerusalem; where the buildings are all made with that same Jerusalem stone. The architecture in Paris is impressive, imposing and austere – a colour scheme of white, off white, beige and khaki. There’s also a lot of history here – just like Jerusalem.
Like the Japanese, the French seem to put a lot of effort into making things look effortless. There is a simplicity and a precision to French culture that’s similar to Japanese culture.
The tourists are everywhere. They seem to exist in a separate space to the locals. Paris is somewhat reminiscent of Tokyo: with the too many travellers who have no idea what they’re doing or where they’re going. Like the Japanese, the Parisians are also not fond of speaking English. In Tokyo, it’s relatively easy to differentiate a local from a foreigner. In Paris, not so much. I’ve already lost track of the number of people (of the opposite sex) who’ve tried to strike up a conversation with me only to receive a raised eyebrow and an awkward smile.
Yep – no idea what you’re saying. Especially when you talk that fast.
I had the day to myself so I stopped by a cafe and had a coffee and a baguette. I had to. Despite all the complaints I’ve heard from friends regarding terrible customer service in France – I’ve found it pretty decent so far. A little French does go a long way. A smile and a wink doesn’t hurt either.
And then I visited the usual tourist haunts – Notre Dame, Le Sainte Chapelle, La Conciergerie, Jardins du Luxembourg, Le Pantheon and La Sorbonne.
These places are so over the top photographed that I don’t understand why tourists stop to take pictures – but at this point I guess it’s more of an instinctual response than anything else.
After a long long day out with a lot of walking, I returned home to chill out for a bit before heading to Menelik – an Ethiopian restaurant. I was so full by the end of it that it was hard to breathe.
Till next time – bonne nuit.