A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend's father celebrated his 60th birthday by taking a few family members and their partners, including me, on a 5-day trip to Paris. Ah, Par-EE, eet is so romantic, non? Mais, oui! As you might imagine, I walked a lot, saw some sights, and above all, spoke lots and lots of Danish - you didn't think I would actually try to speak French, did you?
I had been to Paris twice before. The first time was in college, where I spent 6 weeks purportedly studying French. In reality, I wandered aimlessly about the city, listened to music (The Smiths and Indochine, one casette tape of each, pretty much continuously), and talked to no one (well, to no one French at least). Then I was there for a few days with my brother and Dad, about a year after I had moved to Europe. We survived four or five days of maximum tourism. But that was 9 years ago. I remember a certain fondness for the city, but couldn't remember anything specific. So, forthwith, my answers to the unasked question, 'What is Paris'?
1) Paris is museums and street art. The museum is of course the Louvre. The particular street art is right next to the Pompidou Center, another museum/art center, which I think is one of the ugliest buildings ever built. There are some who disagree with me on that, I can't imagine why.
2) Paris is cafés and street food. In particular the street food. I could (and during my times in Paris have) lived on crêpes, avec fromage, jambon, et oeuf.
3) Paris is monuments and cathedrals. Ah, aren't they purty?
4) Paris is small details. All over the place.
5) And above all, Paris is frogs. Yes, frogs. One of the two big blow-out dinners (the other was a cabaret) was at Roger la Grenouille. In the Latin quarter and specializing in, you guessed it, frog's legs. You get to wear an assortment of silly hats during the meal, which meant that all 6 of us spent the whole time taking pictures of each other. The decor is sort of upscale chaos, with lots of memorabilia scattered about. I found this frog sitting next to me. It was only after my meal that I realized where those frog's legs had come from! However, he had no hard feelings, and joined right in the festivities with the rest of us.