the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog

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Mon Premier Jour

It is now late evening, and I've had a full day. I've just finished a fine dinner of cold chicken and salad and a beautiful white wine (yes, I found the food shops). I've walked my feet off, but I'm feeling more oriented. At least I know which way is north outside my front door! Once, this evening, I almost got lost but then I found a street I recognized and found my way home - that's a good feeling.

But I'm ahead of myself.

I woke early and headed off down to the Ile de la Cite, to find Point Zero, and hit the highlights. I walked around the Ile de la Cite, past Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle and along the Seine to Pont Neuf. I crossed Pont Neuf, and walked through the Louvre complex and the Jardin des Tuileries. I stopped for coffee, then made my way to the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. I had lunch at a cafe near the Ecole Militaire, then went to Rue Clerc, where I bought salad greens and fruit and cheese and bread, then headed home for a nap. After my nap, I walked down to the Champs Elysees and up to the Arc de Triomphe (highlight: the French flag furling under the Arc like a stage set for Les Miserables in the light of the setting sun), and back down towards my street, stopping to buy chicken and wine and more salad composee.

That was the intinerary - now the impressions.

I found myself surprised by the scale of things. Some things were much smaller than I expected (Notre Dame, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower); other things were much, much bigger, like the Louvre, which goes on, it seems, for miles.

I saw many beautiful, beautiful buildings. Lots of green space. Beggars. A very gallic waiter, dark, skinny, with a mobile nose and eyebrows. Many dogs of all sizes and shapes. Not as many frighteningly chic women as I expected, though there were more of these in the evening on the Champs. Lots of very French looking bicycles (no mountain bikes - they are all rather like mine at home, the old model sitting up straight handlebar kind with a basket in the front).

I learned that chicken breast here is less expensive than chicken legs (so much for the low fat diets!). That when a swarthy looking person, likely a women, asks you if you speak English, it's best to ignore her. That my French is crap; no one is fooled by my accent for a second. That my apartment faces North (Google Earth had led me to believe that it faced South, which was confusing). That if you want your five servings of fruit and veg per day, it's best to find them for yourself. Pastries are ubiquitous (I'd get fat, except you have to walk so far to find food).

Perhaps my best Paris moment today? An elderly gentleman stopped me near the Rue Cler and asked me if I was a tourist. When I said, "Oui," he asked me where I was from. When I said "Canada," his face lit up with a beaming smile, he shook my hand vigorously and exclaimed "Vive la Canada!"

Eiffel Tower
Tags: memories, paris, trip

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