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Mon, 21 Apr 2003
Germany - Weekend 3 - Paris - Weekend in Review
Once we were all settled in, we had 3 days to see Paris. Earlier we had each purchased a Mobilis card, which allowed us to ride the metro for the day. We went back to the metro and purchased the 3-day Paris Museum Pass. While we did not make perfect use of our time, we used our passes to see the following sites:
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Musée de l'Armée
  • Conciergerie
  • Musée du Louvre
  • Panthéon
  • Sainte-Chapelle
I'm not sure if we made it to enough sites to cover the expense of the pass, but it did allow us to enter without having to wait in the long ticket lines. We tried going to the Crypte archéologique de Notre-Dame, but it was closed for Easter. We also tried going to Musée national Picasso, but we couldn't find it before it closed for the day. (Apparently west was the other direction.) On Easter Sunday, we went to the 8:30 mass at Notre-Dame. While it was mostly French (which I cannot comprehend), they did one of the readings in English and the other readings had multiple translations in the bulletin.

I am not going to go into a detailed explanation of all the sites we visited. Some of them I had seen before, and I am sure history buffs could give much more satisfying explanations of all the things we saw. I will mentioned that I was amazed by the stained glass at Sainte-Chapelle; I do not think I could imagine more stained glass in such a small space!

For lunches, we generally got some from an outside stand and ate it nearby or on a bench somewhere. Everything is expensive in Paris, but lunch was at least affordable. I think I had cheese quiche one day, a cheese hot dog the next day, and a ham (salad?) sandwich the third day. Each night we went to a café. While these were pretty expensive, I got a decent price by ordering the formule (a.k.a. menu or meal). I asked around on the first night, and none of my companions had ever tried escargot before. I treated us to escargot, and we each had two (except Eric the vegetarian). I think we all agreed they were good but not worth the price. Despite all the food in France costing a lot, it definitely tasted good. I had lasagna the first day, steak the second day, and spaghetti the third day. I also had a great dessert each night: créme caramel, mousse chocolat, and tarte apricot. The créme caramel was a little weird, but all were enjoyable. English was spoken at all the cafés.

While in Paris, we had plenty of opportunities to watch people. It was most notable to watch couples in Paris. When a couple walked together on the sidewalk, the man made it very obvious that he was in posession of his woman. They usually held hands or had their arms around each other. The man exuded the sense that she was his territory. There was no doubt that the two of them were just friends. Besides the couples, who were generally self-absorbed, the Parisians seemed slightly more outgoing than Germans. I felt more people making eye contact in Paris than in Ulm. However, there seemed to be fewer uses of "please" and "thank you" in Paris. The people in Paris looked generally like Germans. The girls in Paris dressed more provocatively than those in Ulm, although I wouldn't say they were better looking. If anything, there were more overweight people in Paris than Germany. Now, I had to qualify what I have written above about the people in Paris. I really have no idea if the people I was observing really live in Paris. We heard so much English in Paris that I wonder if the whole population of England came to Paris for Easter.
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