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[Other] Tourists

Sightseeing


Today, I noticed a big influx of rather well-heeled touristy types at my favourite cafe, then I remembered that the French Open starts today or tomorrow. Probably a good time to be leaving Paris.

I can't finish these entries without some remarks about my fellow visitors to Paris. And I apologize to some on my flist because I perforce will be making comments about people from that big country south of Canada, in which I know some of you reside, and those comments may tend to promote certain stereotypes. It can't be helped, really; unfortunately, many of those tourists from you-know-where behave precisely the way one might expect them to, based on those stereotypes.

First, though, I was struck by how truly international the tourists are here, and indeed everywhere else I went on this trip. I have encountered at least as many obvious tourists from Italy and elsewhere in France as the "usual" (or what is usual for BC, Canada) Japanese and Americans. I've run into quite a lot of visitors from Mainland China, and as my Chinese is actually better than my French, was in the odd position this morning of giving a trio of them directions in Chinese. And of course there are the Germans, who have their own brand of stereotypes to live up to, or down, or whatever. And a few Aussies, and even one or two Canadians.

Here are a few vignettes:

The young, Paris Hilton-like, bored, drawl in Sainte Chapelle (for me, the most stunning place I visited): "What was the name of this place again?"

The American women who thought "Tours de Notre Dame" meant Tours of Notre Dame and were horrified to find themselves climbing 155 or however many stairs to the top.

The unfortunate, obviously Muslim and vegetarian man in the take-out bagette sandwich shop asking in somewhat desperate tones if everything had "meat," and the clerk saying but of course!

The nicely dressed family (Americans again) this morning at the cafe who ostentatiously passed around one of those bottles of disinfecting gel before having breakfast.

The group of women in the restaurant where I had lunch today, who I could hear were annoyed because I got better service than they. I felt like saying, "well, if you don't even try to speak French, and you order Coke with the dish off the menu that they have to prepare specially instead of doing what I did and ordering the plat du jour and asking your waiter to recommend a good wine..."

Then again, there was the charming couple from Seattle whom I met at Giverny and talked to for quite a long time, and the two women from "Phillie" this morning who were absolutely thrilled to be here and delighted with everything.

There's that Italian women in my photograph above, who stopped and stared at the drunk passed out on the steps of the Sacre Coeur.

And of course, there's me, bumbling around on my own, eavesdropping on conversations, taking photographs and generally being a perfect nuisance probably :) But having a great time.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
a_d_medievalist
May. 27th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
I think one of my greatest pleasures in trying to blend in when I travel is that one does get to eavesdrop and be alternately amused and mortified.
intertext
May. 27th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)
Indeed :)
(Deleted comment)
intertext
May. 27th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, my dear, I think you have aspirations as a writer, and what is that but a professional eavesdropper and voyeur??
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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