Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ten things I've learned in Paris

Number one - All the chairs on the terraces of the cafes face the street. It's like rows in a theatre. I think that's kinda of neat - all the better to watch the world go by.

Number two - Those buttons on the poles that have the walk/don't walk signs do not control pedestrian lights like they do at home. Instead, a recorded voice repeats what intersection you are at - over... and over... and over... - until the light changes. It's especially loud when there is a big crowd of people who saw you push the button. Funny, that.

Number three - Many major monuments and buildings are beautifully lit up at night. It makes for some great photos. Those lights, however, all shut off at 1am. I learned this immediately after I had found the perfect spot to take a photo of the Hotel de Ville (city hall), had set up my camera, had my body all contorted and my finger on the button. *poof!* No more lights. WAAAAH!

Number four - The Metro closes at 12:30am. This is why I was at the Hotel de Ville at 1am. I went out for a very late dinner, missed the metro cutoff, and so had to walk back to my hostel.

Number five - it's a reeeally long way from where I ate dinner (near Notre Dame) to my hostel. It took me an hour and a half on foot to get back.

Number six - It wasn't too bad, because Paris is really easy to find your way around (when armed with a map!). Of course, as I was jotting this thought down on my walk back to the hostel, I missed my street and all of a sudden found myself in a muuuch quieter neighbourhood with no restaurants or touristy stuff whatsoever. I ducked into a little tiny cafe to check my map and it turn out I had walked ten minutes past my turn. Oops.

Number seven - Red lights in Paris actually mean stop. So do amber lights. They don't mean, like they do in Vancouver, keep driving, only faster, cause hey, I've got somewhere to go! It took a while to realize what that strange feeling was. It was cars stopping at red lights. Huh. Someone come teach Vancouverites that... please?!?!

Number eight - Number seven is a good thing, because heaven help you if you are a pedestrian in the way of a car. In Vancouver, cars yeild to pedestrians. Here, cars say, "I'm a car, I am powerful, you are in my way, and if you don't get out of the way, I WILL MOW YOU DOWN!"

Number nine: There is nothing better than lunch in the Jardins de Luxembourg: baguette, cammenbert, grapes, and white wine overlooking the gardens, a large pond, and the Palais de Luxemburg.

Number ten: Unless, or course, it's sitting in Troccadero Park on the grass above the fountains, just hanging out watching the sun set over and through the Eiffel Tower.


niki d said...

WOW. I'm so excited for you!!! Keep having an awesome time, take lots of pictures-but don't forget to enjoy the moments while you're in it, there's something about a picture in your mind that (although you can't share it) is so much more powerful than one captured on film. You're going to have an AMAZING time. Paris. ah...I'm jealous. I miss Europe! Happy travels!!!

H0kie Erin said...

I WILL MOW YOU DOWN seems to be a European thing. It was the same thing when I was in Spain. Makes you look alive when crossing the street though.

Hope you're having fun!

Happy0303 said...

Sounds like you're having a great time! You are coming back, right? LOL!

Trudy said...

Hooray for Paris! Sounds awesome... keep enjoying it all!

AfricaBleu said...

Wow, Hillary -- I've been off the blogs for a month now, and I can't believe how much I've missed! Your trip sounds wonderful -- I am so impressed by all the things you are doing. Have a great time, and keep those blogs coming (I should talk, right? But I'm not in PARIS).

Yay for you!

Jenn said...

Enjoy Paris!! ...just watch out for those cars. You're taking lots of photos, right?