30,815 Parisian steps and whew
Sep 13, 2018
|Yep, after 30,815 (I well and truely completed my 10,000 steps for today) steps around Paris today, I now know Paris well enough to classify myself as a local!
The weather was a bit dull, showers this morning which cleared up to an overcast non photogenic day but what a great day I had exploring this amazing city, despite the fact that no one appears to be able to speak one of the worlds most popular languages, as in the Queens English.
I blame my good friend Ian from Laurieton for enhancing my communication woes, he was going to give me some French lessons before I left Osprey Nest. I learned so much phrase book French before I left, however the locals here just look at me blankly when I speak to them in their own language, more or less. They hand me a menu and I look at it equally blankly and take a stab at something that looks vaguely familiar, I’ve endured some interesting meal combinations so far.
I started the day with a cafe au lait and TWO of the crispiest, buttery croissants imaginable and then walked around the Bastille and through the Ile de La Cite and Ile St Louis area beside the Seine along tree -lined quays. So pretty, elegant and interesting even in the rain. The magestic facades, quiet courtyards, beautiful 17th century mansions, enjoyed the pretty and peaceful island, streets just fulll of atmosphere. Loved the Pont Saint-Louis pedestrian bridge and Notre Dame gardens. I visited the Shakespeare & Co bookstore, an old Hemingway hangout, probably the most famous independent bookstore in the world.
I joined the a 3 hour free walking tour and as usual, it was an awesome experience, saw and learned so much more about Paris through our excellent young North Yorkshire English guide who came to Paris to complete a French Course and never left, so you learned about Paris from an outsiders point of view with many tips and hints on how to cope with the haute (started off as arrogant, then folk with an attitude, now just plain haute) Parisians and how to enjoy and get the most out of Paris.
I wondered why I was ignored and left standing when entering a restaurant, have discovered that unlike most other countries, I am lucky to be served by the waiters so now walk in and in a loud singsong voice yell out Bonjour and they find me a seat and actually deign to serve me, if I’m nice to them.
I wondered why the lady serving at the Patisserie never accepted my money or gave me my change personally, in Paris it is exchanged via the little tray on the counter, a quirky Paris patisserie custom!
When you ask a Parisian ‘how are you’ , they’re only ever ok, not fine, well or as in Australia ,’all good’, they are naturally grumpy, don’t smile much, pretty serious, in fact just totally different to us as Australians. Not really what you would call easy going, in fact quite irritable, mostly.
On our tour we covered so much ground, the Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, loved the Tuileries (still plenty of flowers in bloom), The Louvre, Grand and Petit Palace, wonderful views of the Eiffel Tower, the fascinating Latin Quater, beautiful Pont Neuf Bridge, etc etc. It’s easy to take in and learn so much more about the history of all these places from the young guides who breath life into the stories of a Paris with a sense of humour and their version of the histories which are often more interesting than the test book version.
I spent the rest of the day wondering along The Champs Élysées, Place Vendome which I loved, stopping for drinks and snacks along the way to enjoy watching the passing parade.
I reckon the only man in the world that can wear a scarf elegantly has to be a Parisian man, they are so stylish. The Paris women are also well dressed without appearing to even try, they dont look like they have tried really hard to dress up, they just do it so well. And so casually, oh and the shoes, yes the shoes. I’ve been taking photos of their feet and am making ‘shoes of Paris’ My theme for this trip.
I am heading off to Bordeaux early tomorrow morning for 2 days before returning to Paris so better get organised.
Nadine, how is Maddie enjoying her Fijian holiday?