Posted by: ilanasmith | September 9, 2007


I went to Paris and I loved it.  Any city where, if I’m wandering around and a slight hunger pang hits, I can get someone to make me a crepe, is alright by me.
  • The trip started excellently.  At the Copenhagen airport, I found two great books.  One was the sequel to the Napoleonic Wars and dragons book I’ve been telling everyone about.  The second was "Night Watch", Russian best-seller and basis of brilliant vampire movie.
  • I’m friendly in France.  Or, at least, I must look it.  Every bloody person stopped me to ask directions or for me to take their photo for them.  So much for my off-putting demeanour.  Obviously, I’m out of practice.
  • I walked from one end of Paris to the other.  Even the most comfortable shoes can give up after a while, so the next day, I took the Metro if I needed to go further than half a block.
  • I went to both the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay.  The Orsay was amazing.  I’m a sucker for Impressionists, post-Impressionists and Art Nouveau, so it was right in my wheelhouse.  And then they go and add a big sculpture of a polar bear.  I was surprised the whole building wasn’t actually dedicated to me.  The Louvre…well, it was the end of the day.  Mona really does look smug and Ms de Milo really has misplaced her arms.  The Rubens Room made up for it.
  • The impetus to climb famous monuments has passed me by.  I just like to take photos of the queues and the idiots taking the stairs up the Tour Eiffel.
  • M. Night Shaymalan was shooting a movie in the Tuileries.  This would have been cooler if the scene had been less old guys playing boule and more Marky-Mark and Zooey Deschannnelll-thingy.
  • I love the Art Nouveau Metro entrances.  So much less obvious then the Copenhagen silver columns with the big ‘M".’
  • On Dean’s advice, I went to the Catacombs.  A kilometre and a half of the stacked up bones of six million Parisians, interspered with signs in French discussing the transiency of life (apparently).  My favourite were the signs at the entrance: "The ossuary tour could make a strong impression on children and people of a nervous disposition", "To preserve the patrimony, no photograph with flash", "Any person caught stealing bones will be taken to the police"(this one was only in English; I’m not sure what that indicates), and over the ossuary entrance "Halt, for this is the empire of the dead."  Two thumb-bones up.
  • Montmatre was very cute, but no pixie-ish French girls did me any good deeds.
  • Paris’s reputation as a city of love and romance is no reason for all the couples and their public groping.  It passed voyeuristic and became tiresome.


  1. Doesn’t the bear look exactly like the mascot of Nordisk Film?
    Great blog! (Of course I stumbled across it in a shameless act of ego-patting vanity searching – thank you for imortalizing my name and granting me my 15 minutes of fame…)

  2. Nice blog, it’s a pleasure to see my town by foreigner eyes.

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