Wednesday, April 18, 2012

People in Paris

The week before we were scheduled to fly to Paris, the Eiffel Tower was evacuated for a bomb threat that ended up being a false alarm and resolved the same day.  My husband plain out told me that if the trip wasn't for work (and completely paid in full) we may have been calling it off.  I couldn't NOT go on this trip and miss my possibly one and only chance to get to Paris. I was SO going with or without him glad this wasn't a personal trip and confident everything would go as smoothly as planned.  It just had to...




The first day we were there we decided to walk down the Champs Elysees only to be greeted by this scene:



Doesn't he look absolutely thrilled??
We were told by people that protests happen there all the time, like on a daily basis and that we shouldn't be alarmed. As you can imagine, it did not make this already fully alarmed, semi-anti-French guy feel any better about getting lost while we were walking through the streets of Paris.  In case you didn't know, the streets in the area all basically come at an angle rather than being a straight T intersection, and meet at the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe.  It's not too hard for green American newbies like us to get lost even  having a map as it's easy to mistake the map being right side up when it's really upside down and vice versa. In my defense, take a look at this map surrounding the Arc de Triomphe and you will  be able to see exactly what I'm talking about.

We took a tour bus which I recommend for anyone wanting to see the better part of the city without paying for a cab to get around, or getting too lost.  They have headphones so you can use to choose your language to be able to hear all about the sites you are passing by.  There are also numerous stops along the route that you can get off and back on.


It was great to be able to people watch at all different locations. It was all great until a photographer got on the tour bus with us.  He sat in the seat behind us with a camera in hand and another around his neck, obviously some important photographer type that thought he was the next whoever the greatest photographer that ever lived was.


My son is convinced we saw Wolverine on location in Paris.

This guy spent much of the tour standing up right behind us or kneeling in the seat with the camera around his neck in perfect swinging distance from my head.  It didn't really bother me to be honest, I was enjoying myself and chose not to notice how closely he was in my boundaries. All of a sudden my husband stood up.

"Hey could you watch what you're doing?  You're about to hit my wife in the head." (assuming that this guy would even understand him)

"Did I hit her? Did I?" he asked in a British accent.

"You almost did," my husband said after a pause which I was hoping was him thinking about how stupid this was.

"Almost is not hitting her then is it?  It didn't really hit her." the man piped up. Then he mumbled something under his breath about him being a rude American.  I thought he might lose it.  I thought for a moment about how hard it would be to get out of an arrest in Paris.

It was over after a few choice words then a couple international I love you signs and the guy got off the bus at the next stop.  We were able to enjoy what was left of the tour.



Just a warning in case you might think about renting a car while in Paris, it's an accident waiting to happen in most spots.  Think again. I was surprised there weren't any accidents in the 51 seconds, all of which I had my jaw open filming it.  While they do drive on the right side of the road here at least,  I still wouldn't even think about attempting this challenge...



Do you think you could handle it?



The only time I ever felt shunned by the French was the last night we were there - I couldn't handle my shoes after being on them all day so I walked around barefoot.  You would not even believe the looks I got; it was well after midnight when I expected everyone to be careless and full of wine.  I think it was more of a fashion thing than a French thing; I didn't care much either way.  My feet were absolutely killing me and I was proud to have Paris on my souls.



So the lesson to be learned here today about the people in Paris is that it's not the actual Parisians that live there that you have to worry about, it's really the touring Brits you have to watch out for - and the completely insane traffic!

Of course, there's not any harmless gorillas to worry about...
nor were any harmed  in  the making of this post.



Have you been to Paris?  What do you think of the traffic and the people?


27 comments:

Christopher Scott Dixon said...

Hi Amy, good post and some interesting images! It's sadly some 23 years since I was in the city of romance, even then, I did find the locals rather aloof, but as you know the French and we English (meaning me) have endured a love/hate relationship for centuries! Back in 1989, the city was always busy with traffiic, but liivng as i have in Bangkok for most of the past eight years and having dwelt in Prague, Taipei and Athens, I accept the madness of various congested capital cities!

Mayor Gia said...

Hell NO I would not be able to drive like in that video. I hate circles in the US, forget another country. There's no lines on the road! It's just madness!

Jessica said...

No way I would be able to drive there after seeing that video. Where are the stoplights?

Georges said...

God Paris is so beautiful, wish I could travel there more often.

Joyness Sparkles said...

Wow...seeing your post, right after I read, My Life In Paris, by Julia Child. Fantastic!

I am so glad that you had a good time and very glad you got such great pictures! Thank you so much for sharing these...

Gbaugniet said...

This is my first visit to your blog for the A to Z Challenge. Your theme topics have me intrigued and I'll be back to check out all your posts!
http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com Theme: A World of Crime

Joyce said...

We lived in the UK for six+ years, moved back to the states almost three years ago. I've spent a lot of time in Paris since it's just 2 hours by train from London and my husband was there on business often. I have a slight love affair with the all things French and especially Paris, warts and all. All cities have their quirks but I think there is a lot of beauty there too. Getting outside the city the people are warmer. I would never drive there! There's no need plus its insane : )

I'm sorry you ran into a surly Brit. I love the Brits and we were welcomed warmly by our neighbors there. We made lots of friends in England and I miss their humor especially. Americans have lost some of their sense of humor in recent years. As happy as I am to be 'home' a piece my heart remains on that side of the pond.

I will just add that rudeness is universal...we've seen it in every country including our own. Glad you didn't miss out on the chance to see Paris!

M Pax said...

I haven't been there yet, but would love to go one day. I've always wanted to see the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

theatypicalhousewife said...

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! Your blog is so lovely! I have not done much traveling, and have definitely never gone to a different country. Great post...it's like taking a little mini vacation right here at home!!

Monica @ theatypicalhousewife.com

Rowena said...

Can't wait to visit Paris next month with my husband. Thanks for sharing your post. What were your favorite sights? Any recommendations? Best,
Rowena

Padma Mohanram said...

We just came back from a trip to Paris and Normandy in France. It was nice to read your post about your trip. I've been to Paris 3 times now and I absolutely love it. I can never get enough of Eiffel tower how many ever times I see it. I also love the boat tour around Paris especially at night. This time we stayed in Versailles and saw the palace too and it was absolutely gorgeous. The best thing I love about France is the people. They are very kind and helpful. How can I forget the beautiful countryside in France. Although it is very expensive to live there, it is nice to visit there once in a while to enjoy the beauty.

laughing abi said...

Hey Amy,
I'm totally jealous of your amazing pics - again. I'm amazed how random the traffic looks in that video! No lines. No lanes. No brains!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

no s%*t! I don't know how anyone knew when it was their turn to go. I keep picturing Clark Griswold in London passing Big Ben until dark...that's about how I would be on this thing...

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I love it. The Eiffel Tower is so breathtaking day or night, even under construction like it was when we were there. I'm glad you've had a chance to see it in person. The people really were great there, everyone was very helpful. I have heard Versailles is gorgeous too. Thank you for commenting!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Oooh Rowena - can you send me your email? I would love to send you more info. What part of Paris are you staying in? Champs Elysees is something you have to experience for sure - that's where all the action is.

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thanks Monica! I'm glad to take you on a virtual tour!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

It is pretty amazing! I hope you get the chance!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I agree about the rudeness, that could have happened anywhere..I was nervous just being in traffic in a cab let alone attempting to do it myself..
We definitely felt a more laid back atmosphere once we got into smaller towns like Beaune and Dijon. I can't imagine how often I would have been in Paris being only 2 hours away. Sounds like you really enjoyed your time there! Thanks for stopping and sharing your story Joyce!

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed

CoffeeLovinMom said...

I agree! I would love to whisk off in a private plane when I felt the urge..

CoffeeLovinMom said...

There are no signs or lights in the roundabout, not even at the enter intersections. They are everywhere else but there so I'm not really sure why they still think this is a good idea..or why they thought it was in the first place.

CoffeeLovinMom said...

How do you know when to stop or go? It's like they just know - I would be the granny on the side with my hazards on in everyone's way getting lost going in a circle. It just looks like insanity doesn't it?

CoffeeLovinMom said...

Thanks Chris - sorry about the feet ;) (hope I didn't offend with the Brit comment) Sounds like you're seasoned enough to handle it..

Adrienne said...

How exciting to be able to travel there for FREE!! And, I'm with your son, that guy totally looks like wolverine!

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

I love Paris, but the Parisians not so much. I once went to an Irish pub and even there they spoke only french. I talked with a guy who was studying English and even he refused to speak it. Strange people lol

Greetings from the A to Z trail,
Sylvia @ Playful Creative

angela king said...

i have not been to paris but it's on my list! i can't wait to go. it looks like you all had a great time despite the obstacles. :) thanks again for popping by my blog. :)

Carol Bancroft said...

Ha ha ha! Your comment towards the end is exactly what I say about NYC -- it's not the people who live there who are rude, but the tourists. (Incidentally, I ended up walking up several NYC blocks barefoot after my husband's HS reunion -- my soles looked the same as yours, LOL!)

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