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Friday, September 15, 2006

Gay Paris

That title is always funnier if you say it in a kiwi accent. To explain the last post about the bar, we went to Paris for five days last week.

I love Paris. Paris is awesome. We last went in 2000 just before Christmas. It was cold and crisp, the dog crap on the sidewalk was almost frozen solid (almost) and there were lovely Christmassy things around. This time it was the end of summer/beginning of autumn and the days were warm and long. The grass was soft and lovely to lie on. We did only two really touristy things: The Louvre and Versailles.

If you can you need to go to Marie Antoinette’s estate at Versailles. She had made a little fake village at the bottom of her grounds around a little lake stocked with fish. It is like your own private Disneyland. We, like other couples, sat on the warm grass near the lake and just enjoyed the view (NOTE: Blogger just "ate" my photo of it, I'll see what I can do later).

The Louvre is the Louvre. We lined up early but there was no real hurry. Some guy behind me on the escalator seemed really impatient. As we got off he ran (RAN) around me to get to the ticket queue. He got his tickets exactly 30 seconds before I did. I suppose he HAD to see the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo and do the Da Vinci Code tour before lunch.

The hot weather meant that there were large numbers of people lounging on the banks of the Seine. We joined them for an hour or so. It was really nice and something I can’t imagine doing on the Thames.

We wandered for hours down the narrow streets past hundreds of bars and eateries enjoying the feeling of being in Paris in the summertime. On the island of St Louis we stopped and got Gelato. Actually we waited in line for ten minutes for Gelato, which was well worth it.

Later we had a great experience with a surly French waiter. Very stereotypical, cursing under his breath. Also similar to Tokyo there were massive stores dedicated to comics frequented by everyone from geeks to housewives to businessmen (I got some Asterix figurines, placing me in the “geek” category).

I found a great bookstore (also in some little alleyway) where the books were piled to the roof and three stacks deep. I asked the owner about a design book and he handed me some by a similar artist. I realized that I couldn’t pick up the books he had just pit beside me because I couldn’t turn around in the narrow passageway of book stacks. Brilliant!

Only a few more days now. So my next post will most likely be from Wellington.

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