05 January 2009
THE PARIS JOURNALS FINAL THOUGHTS
When you meet someone special they seem, for a time, to be completely perfect. It’s only after the initial infatuation wears off that you realize that this person is flawed too, just like everyone else. Well I never reached the stage of finding flaws with Paris. I’d like to go back and spend enough time to see something about it not to like. Indeed, I’d like to stay until I hated the place or forever, which ever came first.
Here’s what I especially liked, in no particular order.
1) The people. Not outwardly friendly but well mannered and always polite. Rarely noisy or obnoxious, discreet with their cell phone conversations. No loud gum chewing or snapping. Well dressed and pretty.
2) Cleanliness is next to heaven, to rework a phrase. Parisians throw their litter away. The streets, the parks and Metro are tidy.
3) The food is excellent, plentiful, fresh. Yes its pricey but coming from the San Francisco Bay Area I’m well used to that. There are bakeries, cafes, produce markets, fish markets, cheese shops, butcher shops, open air markets everywhere. Whether eating out or buying food to eat at home I never had anything less than wonderful.
4) The metro. I’ve gone on and on about it. In the Bay Area long, frustrating waits for transportation are common place as are long walks from the nearest stop to your destination. No such problems in Paris.
5) Beauty. The city is gorgeous. For me much of this allure is its age, its sense of history its reverence for the past its respect for itself. As a life long student of history I like old stuff (which, I suppose, why I get on with myself so well these days). Paris, like much of Europe, is old and wise where the U.S. is young and brash. Unlike U.S. cities, Paris is hip and lively yet at ease with itself. American cities try so damn hard, there's a lot of contrivance and self absorption. Paris has more pride than ego. Having read its history I can tell you the city has seen a lot. Siege, revolution, enemy occupiers, religious killings, torture and plague. Yet the old gal is as gorgeous as ever.