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Life in Paris….(Written after Month 4 in the city)!
The pigeons are bigger; fly faster & often hit you. And, not by accident. (More on this later.. )
Everyone smokes, …. even pigeons. Even while flying. Can’t imagine how they lite up in flight. The sun definitely sits lower in the sky and stays up later. It also has a 3-pack-a-day habit. Huge numbers of kids smoke here. Shocking. I play hoops in the park. In NYC you break for water. Here, they light up. Sadly, it’s true. The Seine is never the same twice. Its colour, texture and attitude vary with weather, ones frame of mind and probably the number of cigarette butts tossed in…
During Roman rule Paris was called Lutetia, And, the Seine was twice as wide. Paris is an old, old city with many secrets. The more you learn of this, the more you’re enthralled. I’d explain more, but…..it’s secret. Most elevators are extremely small. I’m hardly huge & often my shoulders touch the sides. They’re more like coffins, actually. When I die I’m opting for a French elevator. Mine will probably just have a ‘Down’ button.
I discovered a street plaque marking Robert-Houdin’ s birthplace. He was a French magician, staggeringly talented and probably one of the world’s best. Harry Houdini named himself after Houdin (& awkward Tony Curtis portrayed him on film). Later, the French genius George Melies bought Robert-Houdin’ s studio …. revolutionized magic & illusions & became the world’s premier & most innovative and prolific movie maker…hundreds of films including the amazing ‘Un homme de tetes'(The Man with the Heads, 1898) & ‘Voyage Dans la Lune'(Voyage to the Moon -1902!) which NASA copied decades later.
Melies invented inspired avant-guard film techniques in use today. He wrote, acted, produced, directed, and hand-made the sets. He shot in colour. Paris is full of astonishing stories like this. And it’s right there in front of you. Sometimes you trip over it. Bread is an art form. I would have fattened up quite a bit save for all the walking and gawking.
There is no ‘service’ culture here. None. Food often passes its ‘best-buy’date by the time you get to the cashier. You will wait an ice-age before getting a clerk to notice you in any Paris store. Then they will ignore you. You must understand this in proper historical context: throughout the ages France has been invaded attacked and pillaged by innumerable hoards…..as no-one is attacking these days the natural target for this accumulated hatred is the customer.
In Paris, the customer is not ‘always right’, but in fact not only ALWAYS WRONG but is;
b) Criminally suspect until proven innocent by buying ridiculously expensive (and useless) items then exiting without asking for help in under 12 seconds.
Our son is now bilingual: He ignores Anne & me in both languages.
According to the govt, 30% of all French therapists are frauds. …..how in the world do they know this? And what is the difference….(French humour!)
About Me: I hope you enjoy my site. My passion. It is dedicated to the city I love. My adopted home. My focus is the enchanting, the ethereal, the wondrous, the magical and the hidden, the vexing and the nerve-wracking. Most importantly it strives to discover, capture and share some of the innumerable off-the-beaten-path tales, people, ideas and images that are Paris.
From the secretive to the blatantly beautiful, Paris is a gift you get to unwrap every day, or every morning or late afternoon if you pay attention!
If you have a question about Paris, or have always wondered about some aspect, fact, half-remembered myth of folklore, ….anything, write and ask. I’m thrilled to help! email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thx!