Some thoughts on the French. I enjoyed watching the French. French women smoke a lot. They do not eat a lot. One morning Dan and I were in an American-style bistro for a hearty breakfast for our big day ahead. The first morning we had croissants and coffee. It was fabulous, but did not keep us going for the morning. We were walking all day long, we needed protein! So we're at this American-style bistro/cafe in the Latin Quarter and were promptly greeted by a young American man with Justin Bieber styled hair, with an artsy attitude and who was trying to act too cool to care. Slightly amusing. The gal at the counter was originally from Texas. Super sweet. I got talking to her and asked what the French eat for breakfast. "How do they survive on croissants and coffee? Everywhere we go its croissants and coffee - but we needed eggs this morning, which is why we're here". The Texas lass said that her french friends hardly eat anything! She said "from what I've observed of french women, they eat a croissant in the morning, a salad at lunch, and share a dinner at night. They just don't eat a lot. Me - I need a good breakfast". Our sentiments exactly. I felt a little guilty for eating at an American styled bistro for breakfast, but with 10 hours walking ahead - we needed something hearty. We shared a croissant over morning tea with a coffee!
The croissants in Paris are as fabulous as can be. The bakeries incredible. Tarts, macaroons, pain au chocolate. Mmm. Each day I bought myself something as a treat. One day it was a chocolate tart (life will never be the same again). Another day a pear tart. At night I ate nutella crepes, profiteroles, steak & frites. You name it, I ate it. We walked a good 10 hours each day, which helped work off some of our eating - but not that much eating! Alas, we were in Paris for 3 full days. It has to be experienced as fully as possible.
My favorite part of Paris was the Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. I've been fascinated with that area since I was a kid and studying French. The Eiffel Tower of course is incredibly huge, as is the Louvre. My favorite neighborhood was in the 4th arron - Le Marais. So many good bakeries. I loved the streets of Le Marais. We visited Montmartre, which was lovely but terribly overrun by tourists. That spoiled it a little for me. I don't like to feel like I'm hanging out with tourists :) (oxymoron?) Instead I love to wonder villages and get a real feeling for the place. We stopped in many cafe's to read and drink tea. We walked from the Latin Quarter all the way to Notre Dame, through the Tuileries and up through the Champs Elysees to the Arc De Triomphe. What a walk!!! It was lightly raining, which made the streets beautiful. Walking by the Seine is a real lovely of course. I've always liked Bridges. Yes, bridges. So to be in Paris was exciting for a Bridge lover like myself ;) I liked Pont Neuf a lot. Pont des Artes is one of the famous bridges. I liked it on the Le Marais side of the Seine.
We went to see a ballet at the Garnier Paris Opera House. What a treat! We had a box, which felt very "The Age of Innocence". The Paris Opera House is wonderfully opulent and splendid. The ballet was very moving. It was performed to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Four Seasons will always sound and feel different to me from now on. What an experience. "Winter" is my personal favorite of the seasons.
The Musee D'Orsay was one of my favorite places to visit. I love impressionist art, and am currently trying to find an art history course to take locally. I'm a big fan of Manet and Renoir's works. To view such wonderful artist's paintings was just fantastic. I've been fortunate enough to have gone to many wonderful exhibitions, including a Renoir exhibition in Los Angeles last year and a Monet exhibition in Perth, along with visiting world renowned art museums. But the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre really "took the cake" for me.
I'll write later with more Paris reflections.