March 10th, 2006

sleepy

paris: elemental french metropolis

My first day in Paris I went to Notre Dame, looked at medieval artifacts, walked down possibly the busiest commercial street I've ever seen, and ate Louisiana cuisine for dinner.

My second day in Paris I went to visit the Eiffel Tower, rode a 9km/h pedestrian walkway, then spent the rest of the day in the "City of Science and Industry" museum, finishing off the day with (amusingly) Italian cuisine.

My third day in Paris I visited two cathedrals, found the single most touristy block I've seen in my entire life (I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer), left, and found a modern art museum instead. For dinner: sushi.

My fourth day in Paris I went to Versailles and decided to walk around the gardens. That took most of the day. I picked a restaurant mostly at random - in retrospect I think I ended up at a place comparable to Friday's. Only French.

My fifth day in Paris I went to a Dali museum, two public parks, and the Louvre. I picked a French restaurant that might have been real or might have been a tourist haunt - I'm still not sure. Frog legs do, indeed, taste similar to chicken.

My sixth day in Paris I tried to go to a Museum of Magic (and failed due to the hours they were open), visited a Star Wars exhibition, and failed at the Museum of Magic again. (They should have been open the second time.) I went to an "Oriental" restarant for dinner, which claimed to be part Thai and part Chinese.

My seventh day in Paris I went back to the Lourve. Seriously, that's all. The Lourve is big. For dinner I tried a Chinese place, which also turned out to be partially Thai.

I'm honestly not sure what to say about Paris. It's big. There's a lot in it. It's got a good Metro system. That's about as useful as saying "New York is a large city with big buildings and great bagels".

It's a beautiful place. But I can't describe the city itself. I don't feel that there's a generalization that makes sense. I could talk about Montmartre. I could talk about the islands. I could talk about the fringes of Paris (well, if I'd been there I could), or about Versailles, or, if I knew anything about them, all the individual neighborhoods.

But Paris? I'd have to live there for a month or two to really understand it. It defies cliche. It's not historical or touristy like Rome is. It's not a port city like Naples. It's a modern city, in the truest most complete sense of the word, and I cannot give any sweeping generalizations beyond that.

So.

Paris.

It's big, and it's got a good Metro system.