Parisienne Impressions

This is my second time in the city of Paris and I recall my last visit to be such a blessing as it was after almost 2 weeks of action packed activity in London. On that occasion we were staying on the top floor of a traditional style Parisienne apartment building and we could only access it by the tiniest elevator on earth, but the breath of fresh air and slower pace it was compared to London made it a favourite spot of mine.

This visit has been similar, even though our accommodation has a normal sized elevator! We are blessed to be staying in the shadow of the great Tower, and only a short walk to the Arc de Triomphe.

French pace and view on life seems more relaxed. It helps that the early Autumn weather here has been divine – mild and sunny, which has been perfect for exploring the sites. I just love how most of the restaurants and cafes have tables and chairs facing the road, which assists in the practice of people watching!

The downside to the outdoor eating option is having to deal with the French attitude to smoking. Of all the places we have visited so far there seems to be way more people who choose to smoke here, and they have a wide variety of options to use. One night we were walking after dinner and encountered people smoking normal cigarettes, some smoking super skinny ones, a cigar smoker and then a young man walking towards us smoking a pipe!!

One of the things that freaked us out was the fact that on the pedestrian crossings there is no button to push to say you want to cross. This unsettled us somewhat and at each road we wanted to cross we continued to search for the magic button to press, but none were there. The lights just changed and the green person indicated it was time to cross. How did they know we were there?

There’s nothing better in this world than indulging in chocolate croissant (pain au chocolat) still warm from the oven for breakfast. Well, actually, one thing that would be better is to be able to eat it with a coffee made with real milk, not the UHT kind that the French always use.

One major difference we found this time is that they have installed pretty serious fencing around the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, which primarily seems to be to keep the sellers of cheap tourist-orientated souvenirs away from the multitude of visitors. These people are commonly called gypsies, and can be quite pushy and annoying if you ever cast a glance their way. All these fences actually do is make it more difficult to enter the sites for the tourists, and pushes the gypsies to just outside the exits of said fences.

I wonder why it is that these individuals are so despised by society? Why are they seen as criminals and outcasts? I am aware that the actions of some have given the rest a bad label, but it’s really easy to just lump them all in together under the heading ‘bad’. Surely some of our actions towards them have helped perpetuate this stereotype. I am caused to pause and consider how I might have contributed to the situations these and others back home face today.

Paris has again been a lovely spot to explore. We did things this visit that we couldn’t do last one and I am grateful for the opportunity. I’m also pretty pleased to have bought myself a beret – red (of course) on the Champs Élysées.

Be blessed.

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