bonjour, mes amies! i am back to little old raleigh and can say that we had a fabulous time in paris. it was one of our best vacations ever. i have an affinity for cities anyway and paris was no exception. we never quite found out why it is called "the city of lights" because there didn't seem to be anymore lights than any other city so i renamed it "paris: the city of well-lit, old buildings". i think you should see that on bumper stickers and t-shirts in the next few months.
the flights were uneventful except usairways scheduled them way too close. when we got off the place in philly on the way home, we had to go through customs, get our bags from baggage claim, haul our asses to terminal b, re-check our luggage, go through security AGAIN and then get on our plane. all in about 1 hour. our luggage is still not in raleigh. who knows when we'll see it again. luckily, all our souvenirs (nothing for you, all for me) were in a carry-on. so beware usair scheduling times!
so, paris: our french got us around pretty well and in fact, there were times when we continued speaking french long after waiters started speaking english to us. people were friendly friendly friendly. i think the rumor about them being rude it just that - a rumor perpetuated by people who can't form their own opinions about paris (the american behind me at check-in in paris shoveling potato chips in her mouth saying she "doesn't DO walking around cities"). one thing that i had to get used to was that the french don't smile at one another on the street. so when you catch eyes with someone, don't smile at them. they'll think you're weird (that was a little thing i read in a book before going to paris but didn't believe it until it happened. it's all true).
i can safely say we walked on every street in paris. every last one. we walked for 6-7 hours a day. then we went back to our hotel and watched MTV with all american videos and shows like jackass and dismissed with french subtitles. french tv is not so good. we sat in cafe for hours like the french do, nursing a coke, tea or coffee. we ate bread and pain chocolat every morning in our tiny hotel room. we ate dinner at 8 at night and that was early. one night we had pasta, one night chinese. we ate a 100 sandwiches. everyone was selling sandwhiches on bagettes with cheese and ham and tomatos. so good. we were fortunate to stay in a section of paris where craig's mom grew up called "le marais" and it's sort of the greenwich village of paris. it was very residential and not at all touristy, unlike the champs-elysee area which was all tourists and craig and i ran back to the metro stop because it was unbearably crowded and touristy.
paris is filled with scooters and motorcycles. they're everywhere, threatening to run you over at every move. all the cars are teenie. the smart car is everywhere and i wanted to buy one in each color. i guess they'll be introduced to the us in 2006 and promptly run over by an h2.
i am sure i have 12 million more things to write about but let me collect MORE of my thoughts and get back to you!