Not-so-Gay Paris

Paris Travel Blog

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This is one of my favorite shots I've ever taken.
My first ever impression of Europe was watching someone be physically dragged into detention at immigration in Charles DeGaulle, screaming and grasping at any thing within reach as he went. This kind of set the tone for my experience in Paris. I hated it. I spent much of the three days there absolutely miserable for several reasons.

1.) My first time on a Paris Metro I was accosted by Mr. 'Happy Pants'--for those of you who aren't familiar with the term check Urban This was a new and very shocking/disturbing experience for me as I'd never had much exposure to the public before, let alone an urban/mass-transportation using public before. I now know that anything goes on the underground, but in 1999 there I was-- standing innocently holding a pole for balance, when out of nowhere a middle aged 'gentleman' and his crotch are pressed up against my back for no apparent reason other than to over-share his good fortune.
The ceiling of a bank where Kyla cashed some Traveler's Cheques.
 And he was going to share it with me by hook or by crook as he seemed to need to stand behind me whereever I tried to move to. To this day you'll find me with my back to something inanimate any time I ride the subway.

2.) Upon arrival I discovered that all of Paris had a smell. There must be some sort of different industrial cleaning product that is used EVERYWHERE in Europe that isn't used here in the US. Now it makes me smile when I catch a wiff of it, but I had never smelled it before and after a while the scent just permiated my entire being. It was inescapable.

3.) I was with a bunch of catty high school students. The sophmore girls didn't like us, we didn't like them or really anyone else. Another friend of mine had signed on to go with us in the fall, but we had since fallen out and hadn't spoken in three months.
It's almost comic the way the storm clouds are rolling in... like a theatrical effect.
..tense to say the least. Add to this two adorable but oblivious chaperones, and there you have it.

I had talked my parents into letting me go on a French and German class trip to *surprise* France and Germany my junior year of high school. It was one of those short spring break things where travel takes away two of your nine days and you spend the other seven packing in every possible tourist attraction in three locales under the guise of education. I started counting down to departure at something like 175 days, got new luggage and new clothes (which now looking back were rather ill fitting) and bought my first real camera. Kyla and I decided we were going to try to "blend in"-- dress nicely, no jeans, no sneakers etc. It's funny to think of how naive we really were as we didn't consider the fact that there was absolutely no way we were ever going to fit in being as we were with 11 other American high school students, all of whom were wearing baseball caps or speaking loudly.
Me contemplating the Seine
But there we were in our wool trousers and our cardigans, messenger bags instead of back packs, trying to use our hopelessly inadequate school-girl French in shops... time warp to age 16...

You will see a lot of me in this blog. I think part of the reason I don't take photos of myself while travelling anymore is because I got it all out of my system the first go round. Kyla was very dramatic and liked to take posed shots everywhere-- I'd take them of her with her camera, she'd take them of me with my camera. Now when I go back through this album my super-round teenage face shows up in 55% of the photos... creeping into the bottom of the picture or 'nonchalantly' walking through the scene. My apologies.
emmllerg says:
Enjoy your next vacation to Paris
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
kebrunn says:
Paris was better the second time around, but agreed, still not my favorite city. Prague has changed a lot too though, but I'll voice my opinions on that later in this blog.

You're right though-- it is all worth it in the end. My favorite Paris thing? CREPE STANDS!!! I want to hire someone to set one up along the walk to my apartment (mind you I live in a two family house in a little neighborhood of "Smallbany") just so I could grab a nutella crepe on the way to work in the morning... or maybe Burre, Sucre et Sel... or maybe ham and cheese....
Posted on: Feb 19, 2008
jennjeff1 says:
I didn't particularly care for Paris either during most of my visits. The Normandy Coast was our favorite part of France. They really appreciate "The Allies" there ;)

As for the smell, its most likely the cigarette smoking with that damp humidity holding the smog near the ground.

I liked Salzburg, Austria and Prague, CZ better than Paris, but Paris does have some great food/cheese, wine, sights--and their Bastile Day celebrations are incredible!
Posted on: Feb 19, 2008
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This is one of my favorite shots I…
This is one of my favorite shots …
The ceiling of a bank where Kyla c…
The ceiling of a bank where Kyla …
Its almost comic the way the stor…
It's almost comic the way the sto…
Me contemplating the Seine
Me contemplating the Seine
Me next to a statue of Diana in th…
Me next to a statue of Diana in t…
Forgotten courtyard in the Louvre
Forgotten courtyard in the Louvre
Lines at the Louvre
Lines at the Louvre
Me below Sacre Coeur...
Me below Sacre Coeur...
.... and, of course, at La Tour Ei…
.... and, of course, at La Tour E…
photo by: Sweetski