Our hotel in Paris was in what Parisians refer to as the bad part of town. We stayed at a very basic hotel on the Avenue de Clichy, three metro stops north of Place de Clichy, where the lights of Moulin Rogue sparkle brightly (not to mention the neon glare from the signs of the numerous sex shops and strip clubs).
If that Parisian neighborhood is bad, then Baltimore is a fucking war zone. The area was home to a mostly Arabic-speaking population (and a lot of kebab stands), and the French don't make it any secret how they feel about Muslims. I felt perfectly comfortable where we stayed--it was like being in Queens or Brooklyn or something.
French people have a reputation for being rude and hating United Statesians, but I found the complete opposite. (I hate using the term *American* for people from the US -- the term shows the self centeredness of our culture. But, again, I digress...) Parisians are like New Yorkers, they have a seemingly rough exterior but are really some of the friendliest people I've ever met.
We spent Thanksgiving day wandering the winding streets of Montmarte and exploring Espacio Dali and the Musee de Erotocismo. Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of cheeses, fresh baguettes, fruit and wine from the grocery store. A decent bottle of wine cost just 2.50 euros.
My travel partner and I are recently reacquainted friends--I've told you about her here before. In the years that have passed since our days as close friends and roommates, a lot has changed, or maybe nothing has changed. Maybe we were always very different people who were simply brought together by circumstance. I'm not sure it really matters. We had a great time together in Paris, and though are relationship will probably never be what it once was, I see more shared good times in out future.
Champ-Eleysee, arguably the most famous street in all of Paris, was lined with blue and white lights and vendor stalls selling mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, crepes, fine chocolates and more. From the Arc du Triomph, the view of this winter wonderland was enough to take my breathe away.
The museums in Paris put the ones in our country to shame. In addition to the Espacio Dali, we went to the Musee Rodin, Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre. It was amazing to stand before masterpieces by Vangough, Monet, Da Vinci, Matisse, Rodin..close enough to appreciate every brushstroke.
We spent an entire day at Versailles--once home to Marie Antoinette and King Louis XIV. The gold, the grandeur, I could barely wrap my mind around the idea of people living with that kind of wealth.
We met my Mom and her friend, who happened to also be visiting Paris, met for a fantastic meal at a fine dining restaurant. We had roast duck with a cherry sauce, escargot in a basil sauce, creamy goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry, rabbit in a delicate mushroom sauce, poached pears and a lovely bottle of Bordeaux.
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