SUI GENERIS punk rock bike shop home-brew art/craft love


Paris is like any other big city: they have crazy traffic, urban decay, beggars, pickpockets, buskers, scam artists, and homeless folk. It's dirty, noisy, crowded, smelly, and busy. It is important to understand this. Paris is not a utopia of laid-back lunches in cozy cafes and romantic sunset strolls along the Seine. But, like any other big city, it's got its charm if you are willing to search for it (and it mostly won't be where you expect).

We lived there more or less like unemployed locals for two weeks and had a great time. "Loved every minute" would be a lie. "Made the most of it" is better. My favorite days by far were our jaunts outside the city, and my France return trip plans do not include Paris whatsoever. Still, I'm glad we went. Here are some highlights of big-city livin'.

  • The Metro. When it wasn't too busy, we had fun riding the train system. It covers every corner of Paris and took us where we wanted to go every time we went out. Going without a car in this city would be easy (but all that traffic had to come from somewhere--out of town commuters, perhaps?)
  • Proximity to necessities. On a daily basis, we could have got by without using the Metro at all, simply browsing our neighborhood's cafes, restaurants, bakeries, groceries, laundrettes and the such. There was at least one of absolutely everything we needed within a few blocks' radius.
  • Apartment perks. Drinking a glass (or two) of wine on our balcony. Taking a hot bath at the end of a long day of walking. Cooking grilled-cheese sandwiches in our tiny kitchen corner. Those little details made us feel at home, and of course--thanks to J's big push to get us something that we could not do at home--our bedroom view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Assortment. An endless procession of patisseries doesn't translate into an infinite selection of baked goods, but it does ensure at least some variety. If we didn't like the menu of one restaurant, we just tried our luck with the next one down the street. We never had to go more than a block or two before finding something we could both agree on.
  • Culture. Saved for last because it's obvious. Paris is packed with museums, cathedrals, parks, historic sites, and nifty architechture aplenty. The only drawbacks to the best tourist attractions were the half-mad packs of feral tourists. Ah, well, there's just no escaping other people.

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