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As the Wind Blows

Week 21: Paris and Pierrefonds

FRANCE | Monday, 8 August 2011 | Views [311]

A street in Montmartre

A street in Montmartre

No matter how much it irritates me, the one thing I have to admire about the French is their pride. Pride for speaking their own language (it's the only European country that I’ve been to so far that don’t say ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ as soon as they see me, they say ‘Bonjour’), their pride in choosing when they work and in some cases who they serve; taxi drivers for example don’t just take everyone to their destinations – sure it’s discrimination in most other countries around the world, but it’s their car and their livelihood so I suppose they have a right.

Paris was surprisingly sunny when I visited. I’ve only ever seen cloudy pictures of Paris, so it was quite pleasant to have warm weather. Regardless, during the day the buildings of Paris will always be white and grey so personally, I doubt it can ever be considered aesthetically pleasing. Paris at night on the other hand is absolutely stunning!

The city lights up like a Christmas tree and with millions of dollars spent on the hourly light show of the Eiffel Tower, I think the Parisians must pride in their capital city at night. Montmartre, and to a lesser extend the Latin Quarter, come alive at night. Half the time it feels like you’re walking into some painting that you’ve seen somewhere at sometime in your life time. And if you’re lucky you might even see a print of one or many of those paintings.

Speaking of stepping into paintings, the Chateau de Pierrefonds feels like you've just stepped into the tv show Merlin. That's because that's where they film a lot of the show at the castle and they even had props lying about like the village and the stake that they sometimes attempt to burn people who use magic. It was great! :D It must be a lot of fun being an actor on that show getting to prance around a castle all day. Pierrefonds itself is a charming little French village that's located an hour out of Paris and it's well worth a wander around before heading back into the Paris.

I didn’t visit the Louvre nor did I climb Scare Coeur or visit half of Paris' tourist attractions. Maybe it's because walking past the Arc de Triomphe everyday made me feel like a local or I've just reached a stage where I'm sick of visiting typical tourist attractions. I dunno, but I did another one of the New Europe free tours and that was good enough to get a feel of Paris and it's history. (And also learnt about the secret entrance to the Louvre when next I decide to visit the Mona Lisa). What I did enjoy most about Paris was people watching from cafes and sitting around eating extremely rich food at a relaxed pace instead of rushing through meals. I think that's the best way to get a feel of Paris and it's proud people. 

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