Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paris, Bastille and the Catacombs!

 Today in Paris was a lot more fun then the last few days. I wandered down to this area of the city called Bastille. The monumen there commemorates the prison that once stood there, which was destroyed during the French Revolution. The area is great for markets and shopping and eating and the touristy crowds are no where to be seen.

I've encountered a number of ugly Americans while i've been here. Not ugly as in unattracive, but ugly as in ethnocentric, loud, rude and having no desire to try and immerse themselves in the culture here, try the food or really make a connection with Parisians. People go to the Louvre and then eat at the McDonalds there, I think, you came thousands of miles to eat at a gross fastfood chain? Sure the good food here is expensive, but is also worth the money.

Speaking of food, today I tried this lovely French restaurant in Bastille called Le Petit Bofinger for lunch. The food was lovely, scallions with tomatos, olive oil, side of salad greens and some weird but delicious stuffing, the beginning of the meal started with some bruschetta and bread, which was also excellent and filling. The server I had was this very nice woman who I manage to ask in French what I should try. She then talked to me rapidly in French and we had a laugh when she realized asking her what to have in French was about the best I could do.

I finished off the meal with some sparkling water and a delicious apple tarte and a scoop of ice cream. She seemed very pleased that I really enjoyed the food. It was expensive, but really worth the price. I will remember that meal for quite a while.

While on the Metro here I saw a very cute little African baby and her daddy. She kept touching my pants and this of this nice French woman and we both played with her a little, she was very smiley and ridiculously adorable. After this I wandered over to this area to see the catacombs, a labyrinth on tunnels underneath Paris that houses hundreds of thousands of bones of the dead. For a while down there you don't see much, it's very cool and dry, which is a relief from the heat of the city.

Then you turn a corner and bam, bones are stacked to either side of you lining the walls. The have thigh bones and rows upon rows of skulls. There was a small wishing well in one area that was much like a shallow cavernous pool. Stairs spiral down roars on and the water was minerally, a soft tourqoise green.

I wandered through the area with a Danish family who were in Paris on holiday. They were very friendly and nice and fun to wander with for an hour or so. They said thehy were one of he northern islands of Denmark, but I forget if they told me which one. Their children had both studied in the USA, and they would be going to school soon for college.

I wandered over to Auslitz train station here to book a ticket to Barcelona but the only thing that they have available is a day train ticket on the tenth which will take 15 hours to get there, with many small stops on the way. Ali has also not reccomended Spain, and so I think for this trip I'm going to scratch it off of my list of countries to visit, it's just too much of a hassle. I also checked Ryanair's website to see if there was a plane I could catch, but they too were booked full.

I'm smiling and taking this as a not so subtle hint to head to Switzerland instead. And maybe Dom there down to Italy for a few days to see Florence and Rome, and maybe a few of the towns inbetween. Italy is hot this time of the year, worse now with global warming, heat waves causing heat stroke for some, especially in the last few years. I'm hoping it will mayb rain while i'm there, but I do not know, we will see what happens.

The best advice I can give to people visiting Paris is to go where the locals go and try and be humble and polite, because what you sow is what you reap here. Europeans do not judge you based on your natonality but rather how you treat them and their ways. It's just different here, neither good nor bad.

One thing I've found frusrating is that I can't seem to find an Internet Cafe here... They're supposed to be on every block, same with laundromats, but I have not seen ONE! Maybe I'm just barkig down the wrong block, but seriously I can't find one, tomorrow that and the Arc de Triomphe is going to be my two stops, and mostly the Internet Cafe. There are several things I need to arrange tomorrow and make decisions on.

Okay I know this is a stereotype on France, but seriously, the men here are smoking hot. They all smell good, are trim and beautiful and are wonderfully polite and direct. I could man watch here all day and be a happy camper. Also, a tip for blendng in in Europe, don't wear shorts! Khakis are fine, but shorts peg you as an American. I cannot count how maybe times now I have been mistaken for being French here, and it's probably because I wear pants, it really helps you blend in. Well that and looking distinctly European, which apparently I do.

I've been getting a surprising amount of strang bruises on my legs, probably rom walking so much. At fist I wasn't Jed to it, but now i can walk several miles a day and it doesn't phase me at all. I think my muscles are slot adjusting and bruising as they get used to the strain, but I havn't been feeling it at all for the last few days. I should take some photos of my more interesting bruises, some of them are really rather interesting shapes and colors!

Other then that I've been feeling pretty good. I of course miss everyone back home, but I am habit a grat time here, despite my last post being a bit dreary! Bonne nuir!


  1. Damn you iPod touch and your terrible spell checker! I will murder you with dead fish and knives!!! So many spellig errors that I am too lazy to fix. Blargh!

  2. Dead fish and knives?? That IS serious. Hi, niece. Glad to see you're having a terrific time. You can tell me where to go if I ever get over there. :-)