Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 15. Observations.

my neighborhood, straight ahead and up  the hill

I mostly just shopped today, so I thought I'd share random thoughts and observations about Paris from the point of view of a visiting American senior citizen.  

The negatives:

  1. If you are in the least infirm you are pretty much barred from using the best mass transit system  I've ever seen. It often takes flights and flights of stairs to get to the platform. No elevators or escalators most of the time.  I am glad I am not infirm or I'd be spending a fortune on taxis. 
  2. Dogs are plentiful and doggie-do-do is everywhere in the outskirts or wherever people live. 
  3. Litter is also prevalent. On the streets and particularly noticeable at Starbucks. They are busy and no patrons bus their own trash. 
  4. Since no one is tipped in Paris, waiters don't have to be nice.  
  5. Everyone is so SERIOUS here.  Reserved. No laughter. 
  6. The stairs!
  7. The cost of everything is crazy high. One might think that Paris brands like Estée Lauder and Kerastase would be less expensive than in the USA, but no.  Disappointing. 
  8. Good coffee is difficult to find. I have tried a lot of different places and it just is not very good. Now Italy....
  9. I cannot find art supply stores anywhere!  For such an inspirationally artistic city one would think paints and brushes would abound. 
The positives :
  1. There are so many charming areas in Paris. I particularly love the way food is presented in the markets and at individual vendors. Whole shops devoted to cheese, or to meat, or to chocolate, or to bread, or to pastries.  Or flowers. Each one more splendid than the last. 
  2. You can go anywhere in Paris by subway for about $1.50 each way. Includes any transfers you may make. As long as you don't come up from the depths you can keep making transfers. 
  3. The art museums are spectacular.  One has to pinch oneself when in the presence of such a wealth of  amazingness. 
  4.  The Eiffel Tower is beyond words. Photographs just can't do it. 
  5. You can eat anything you want and not gain weight because walking is inevitable.  Even if you take the subway, getting there, you walk,  in the subway you take stairs, or even travel the tunnels great distances when making transfer/connections. It is easy to walk a minimum of 5 miles a day. 
  6. It is a shoppers paradise. I  enjoy shopping and though I haven't bought much, there is so much to see. 
  7. The layout of Paris is so fun!  No perpendicular roads here anywhere!  With a good map, you can get around easy enough. Getting lost on little side streets is the best way to see Paris. 
  8. The Seine is the heart of the city.  Nice to walk along.  (Wish it didn't look so brown). 
  9. The parks are sweet, and thoughtfully placed. 
  10. There are spectacular gardens all over the city and all free to enjoy. 
  11. If you are going to be here longer than a few days, renting an apartment is the way to go.  Much larger than the hotel rooms and infinitely more comfortable. Also, can get away from eating in a restaurant all the time. 
  12. La Rue du Bac is the most charming street ever.  I keep going back to visit.  Not a Main Street,  kind of curvy, lined with cute shops, cafes and did I say, cute shops?  On the West Bank near the Latin Quarter.  
  13. Le chausson pommes.  These are a flakey pastry package filled with apple.  Purchased at Paul's and eaten at a neighborhood park.  The best!
  14. Other than posses of pickpocketers presenting potential penury, Paris feels safe to a solo traveling woman. 
  1. All of the buildings are ancient, made of stone or brick and the only paint is the trim which is almost always beige.  The only color is used on store fronts and doors.


  1. Love this post. Paris sounds like such an incredible city. It's on my list!


  2. Me, too........great post; try to work in some of your opinions into the list of pros and cons, dear. (just kidding ~ it is fun to see your environs from YOUR perspective, really). Wonder how your shoes are holding up with all that walking! <3