We didn’t run into any of the rude Parisians that I’ve been hearing about all of my life. This may be because Mrs. C is fluent in French so she could carry on a complete conversation as I stood next to her and nodded at what I thought to be appropriate times. I’m fairly certain that they thought I was deaf/mute. Which I basically was under those circumstances. I can read French enough to understand signs and get a gist of subtitles but I’m at a loss when it comes to understanding what someone is saying. I should have carried around a whiteboard for any interactions I had when Mrs. C selfishly left me at a restaurant table alone so that she could use the bathroom.

I really enjoyed the cafes in Paris. Especially apéritifs!! But being able to sit down in a cafe facing the street and slowing things down a bit while you watch the world around you moving was something I really enjoyed.

I’ll do another post soon about where I ate since the restaurants in Paris really deserve a post of their own.

We bought the Paris Museum Pass which may or may not save you much in terms of money, but in terms of waiting in line it is invaluable. The lines at the museums and sights to buy tickets can be awful. The museum pass lets you bypass that line. The only time we had to wait in line at all was for Versailles and that’s because all ticket holders have to go through security.

We stayed in two hotels. The Le Meridien which was a few minutes walk north of the Arc de Triomphe and had the advantage of being right on the 1 Metro line, and L’Hotel Academie which was in St. Germain and a few minutes walk to the Louvre. L’Hotel Academie had an awesome old Parisian vibe to it and was just in an almost perfect location.

We got to do the Louvre three times (I’m only good in an art museum for about 2 hours before I get fatigued) and I still think I only saw about 2% of it. We also got to see Musee d’Orsay which isn’t quite as famous as the Louvre but is housed in a beautiful old train station and I actually recognized a lot more of the art (Van Gogh, Monet, Whistler).

We took the Bateaux Mouche cruise on the Seine at night (which in Paris is late, about 10pm) and recommend them highly. We did it on our first night and was an awesome introduction to the sights on the Seine.

And more to come tomorrow…


  1. I was pleasantly surprised to find the French very friendly and not rude at all, as well. The only rude ones I encountered worked at one of the train stations (Paris Nord, I think). About the only bad thing I found to be true is that it’s an expensive town to visit, but most large cities are.

    Other myths debunked:
    The town is dirty and smells like a sewer. It was a beautiful and well-kept city, with no odor at all, except in some of the subways (which isn’t uncommon anywhere). I did find Monmartre to be a bit cluttered with street vendors and open-air markets spilling onto the sidewalks, and I saw a bird walking around the floor of a restaurant there. Maybe that’s just part of that area’s bohemian culture.

    French people smell. None that I was around, and it got pretty crowded sometimes.

    They’ll pretend they don’t speak English just to be dicks. Maybe it was because I first apologized for my poor French in French, but even the ones that didn’t speak English well, tried. Some even taught me to pronounce French words properly.

    In short, don’t believe the negative rumors. It’s an awesome place to visit, and if you can afford it, I highly recommend vacationing there.

  2. I went to Paris for a wedding in 2005 and loved it. My wife and I made attempts to speak French when asking for menus, prices, and everyone was pleasant to us. I didn’t expect how many scam artists would accost us, posing as Americans who lost their money or some other story.

    I wish I had gone to art school before I went because I didn’t appreciate the Louvre nearly as much as I would now.

  3. Just got back from my visit to Paris myself last week. Loved it.

    My fiancee and I were mightily impressed by the Louvre and the Orsay too, and pleasantly surprised that none of the “rude French people” warnings were true at all. Of course, we *did* take the precaution of studying up on visiting France, and I speak passable conversational French, so that might have accounted for our success.

    Really, I think it boils down to understanding the little things about French etiquette. Always try to speak French (no matter how poorly), dress a notch spiffier, and speak in a softer tone and a little more formally than you’re used to. When asking strangers a question, always preface it with “Pardon monsieur/madame…” and follow up with “Merci beaucoup!” Always say “Bonjour” and “Au revoir” when entering/leaving a store. Try not to mistake “reserved and somewhat formal” for “cold and impersonal.”

    Fairly common sense, but you see plenty of examples of Americans marching up to locals barking “Restroom! Where’s the REST-ROOM?” so you come to understand the reputation we’ve earned abroad.

    1. Ryan, I agree completely. It’s unfortunate that although I didn’t really run into any rude Parisians, I did run into quite a few rude Americans who were being quite loud and demanding. If I needed to find a bathroom, I would ask the server in french, and they would pleasantly answer me in English.

  4. Sounds fantastic, my wife is going over to Europe with her mom next year and Paris is where they end their 21 days. I sometimes want to take a crash course on bringing my French back to near conversational (or at least passable) levels, that knowledge is in my head, just have to rearrange all the nonsense trivia around to make room for it.

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