Middlebury, Vt.

Life in the middle of Vermont.

Friday, July 29, 2011

In Paris, the City of Pigeons

Paris is a famous city in France. It is well known for its old churches, chic shops, cafes and museums, and world-class piles of pigeon droppings.

While there are now very few actual Parisians who live in the city – the entire metropolis having been overrun by tourists -- those who remain are no longer as irredeemably arrogant as they once were.

Apparently the city’s habitués got the memo that unless they actually showed the occasional willingness to give street directions to someone who did not attend the Sorbonne, the rest of the world would accord Parisians the status of sheer irrelevance that they have long deserved.

France itself is famous not only for croissants but also for freedom fries and losing every war it has ever fought.

In a bid to erase both France's irrelevance and its long military losing streak, President Nicolas Sarkozy recently talked the Western powers into attacking Libya.

This was perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to Col. Muammar Gaddafi. His continued hold on power is now assured, thanks to the combined ineptitude of Libyan rebels, the European military and half-hearted American air power -- not to mention the French distaste for victory.

But I digress.

We were in Paris recently for a week, in a largely successful effort to empty our American bank accounts by changing dollars for euros.

The alleged purpose of the trip, as it is for so many such trips to Paris, was to savor the open-air markets and cafes, and to see famous sites such as the Left Bank of the Seine.

I refer to the “alleged purpose” of the trip, in regard to outdoor sites, because in actuality we spent large parts of each day beneath the city and safely removed from any sunshine or oxygen, riding the Paris Metro to and from the sites.

One day, however, we were able to emerge from the metro long enough to see the famous Left Bank .

The Left Bank,of course, was a favorite hangout of Jean Paul Sartre and his sometime Main Squeeze, Simone de Beauvoir -- who together became famous for inventing an indefinable philosophy and providing the early raw material for Rush Limbaugh's rants against feminism. There, too, they smoked and drank themselves to an existentially superb, albeit cancer-ridden, death.

While on the Left Bank I made a point of having a (pricey) glass of wine at the cafe where Simone and Jean Paul hung out. It's called Les Deux Magots -- a name that has led many an American tourist to ponder why anyone would name a cafe after a couple of maggots.

But again, I digress. Blame it on the French wine, which I have to say is decidely inferior -- at least at a price I can afford -- to the Italian wine we drank later in the trip.

Among the other sites we saw in Paris was Montmartre. I'm told the famous French habit of smoking oneself to death originated in this neighborhood among starving, tubercular artists such as Modigliani.

These days Montmartre is overrun with tourists who have paid thousands of dollars to come to Paris for a whiff of the bohemian life. But they could have stayed home and gotten a whiff of the same thing, from their neighbor who struggles to sell her paintings while making ends meet as a massage therapist.

Another neighborhood we visited is called the Marais. While it is famous for its gay residents, you will see more same-sex couples holding hands on a five-minute walk across the Middlebury College campus than you will in the Marais in all of July.

We also visited Notre Dame, a very large church.

I was told -- but wasn't able to verify because I don't speak French -- that this church is used as a sort of home-away-from home for students and alumni of the Fighting Irish.

Indeed, the church is large enough to provide practice space for the Notre Dame football team, should it need indoor facilities the next time it's in town.

5 Comments:

Blogger Rosemary Carstens said...

You always write well and with wit, Greg--even when I don't agree with you! lol

12:14 PM  
Blogger jimi said...

The net's most complete directory of company housing. We have a tendency to tend to supply a selection of temporary housing options looking forward to your desires; extended stays at hotels, company flats, furnished residences for rent — even privately-owned homes, condos and vacation properties.
charlotte corporate housing

4:51 AM  
Blogger 小熊小熊 said...

cheap ray ban sunglasses
concord 11
pandora rings
true religion sale
christian louboutin shoes
cheap beats by dre
oakley sunglasses
gucci bags
juicy couture handbags
ray ban wayfarer
kate spade diaper bag
jordan retro 11
cheap oakleys
jordan shoes
michael kors outlet online
hollister outlet
louis vuitton
hollister clothing store
true religion
jordan 4 retro
oakley sunglasses discount
coach factorty outlet online
coach outlet
ghd flat iron
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
abercrombie
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
nike air jordan pas cher
louis vuitton outlet
kate spade outlet
jordan shoes
chi hair strighteners
oakley sunglasses
timberland outlet
20150724xiong

4:32 AM  
Blogger Nike Free said...

michael kors handbags
michael kors purses
michael kors tote
michael kors bags
macys michael kors
michael kors uk
michael kors factory
michael kors outlets
michael kors outlet online store 49.00 outlet
michael kors outlet online store 49.00 outlet
Michael Kors Bags
Michael Kors Drawstring Bags
Michael Kors Rings
Michael Kors Jewelry
Michael Kors satchels
Michael Kors Backpack
michael kors outlet
michael kors
michael kors outlet stores
2015 michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet online sale
michael kors outlet online
michael kors sale
Michael Kors Wallet

12:11 AM  
Blogger dong dong23 said...

nike air max
toms shoes
asics running shoes
replica watches for sale
coach outlet store online
kate spade
louis vuitton
polo ralph shirts
ralph lauren
michael kors outlet
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
fitflops
nfl jerseys wholesale
tods outlet
louis vuitton
mont blanc pens
adidas stan smith
jordan 13
beats headphones
tods shoes
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
coach outlet store online
jordan retro
jordan 4 toro
hollister kids
polo ralph lauren
ray bans
louis vuitton outlet
ray ban outlet
air jordans
louis vuitton handbags
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap oakley sunglasses
cheap toms shoes
hollister uk
ray bans
louis vuitton outlet stores
michael kors outlet online
20166.1wengdongdong

1:43 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home