Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paris By Bus

After the unpleasantness of my arrival, I woke up still lacking a real enthusiasm to go out and actually do anything – But I desperately needed food.

The part of Paris I'm in is very quiet in the early mornings, even on weekdays. Things often don't open until 10am, and therefore there aren't many people around. Worse, it was Whit Monday, which is a bank holiday where a lot of shops would be shut, Also, Google didn't have reliable information on what was and wasn't open – as I found when I went to an Orange store to get a SIM card for my phone and found it was shut, since Google had said it'd be open

The first place I found that was open and sold food was a Starbucks (which Google said would be shut; I guess that makes us even?) – and I hadn't eaten since whenever the last meal on the place before was the previous day, so I couldn't really afford to wait around for something appropriate French. Besides, I really wanted a chai latte. I would have liked raisin toast to go with it, but I couldn't see it on either the menu or in the display case, so I had a muffin instead and went back to the apartment to make some proper plans.

I'd come across the hop on/hop off bus tour phenomenon when I was planning my 2014 trip, and I bought a ticket for the one in London – which proved to be a good way of getting a feel for where things were in the city, as well as seeing the outside of significant buildings I mightn't necessarily get the chance to go inside of.

So, the first thing I planned to do in Paris was also that. Which I did. And I took a bunch of photos while doing it.

Some of these things I can remember the names of; others are obvious. Then there are a few I've got no idea about; I just thought they looked interesting.

Didn't take long before we got to this:

This is the Luxor Obelisk:

The Moulin Rouge:

Notre Dame cathedral - I'll get better shots when I go to see it properly:

I got very excited when I saw a man walking two Shiba Inu dogs - I'm kind of obsessed with them; I'm hoping I might see one up close in Paris:

The Arc de Triomphe:

The Louvre Pyramid:

It was quite cold that day, and not really the best for being on the top level of an open-top bus, but I didn't mind that much. Not even when it started raining slightly.

After all the touring about, I didn't do a lot else – though I had a very bad time trying to find somewhere for dinner. Or, more accurately, I had a very bad time working up the nerve to go into anywhere for dinner – the bistros near me all have seating out the front, and there are always more diners there than inside; this is almost certainly because it means they can all smoke. Worse still is that they aren't seated face to face – all the chairs face outwards. 

Which of course means you have to run the gauntlet of a cloud of smoke and a horde of disdainful French people in order to go in. I'd have difficulties going alone through that sort of a crowd of people to have a meal in Australia; there's no way I'm doing it here where it would soon become clear I was a non-French-speaking tourist – though I'm pretty sure they could tell that just from looking at me anyway.

Ended up at a less-threatening-looking place, but it turns out they were quite used to tourists – I got a bit offended because I'd tried to speak some French in the hope that they wouldn't think I was too clueless, but that didn't work because I got everything explained to me in English (most of which I didn't need) and, even worse, was brought (along with the salt and pepper) a small tin bucket packed with individual sachets of mayonnaise and tomato sauce. I was a bit horrified at this. Who had come to this nice (albeit not especially chic, but that was why I picked it) French bistro and asked for tomato sauce with their very traditional French meal?

But my beef with béarnaise sauce came out – with which I had a glass of Bordeaux – and I quite pointedly ignored the bucket and its contents. I even demonstrated my sophisticated grasp of French dining practice by ordering cheese afterwards - though I was somewhat disappointed; I got excited that they had chèvre and ordered that, but French chèvre is a lot milder than the Australian version (which is very tangy), and therefore wasn't as good.

And then I wandered back to my apartment. The street from that end looks like this:

1 comment:

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