May 4 - Reflections
We are sitting at CDG waiting for our flight to Budapest which leaves in three hours. We like to be on time! Here are my reflections on our eight days in Paris.
Local people are friendly. No matter what reputation the Parisiannes have, do not believe it. They are friendly. Maybe they are a bit conservative, but they are friendly. Several times as we were looking at our map, someone would come up to us and ask if they could help. Waiters and waitresses actually smiled and gave us good service. All of them spoke at least some English. We tried to speak some French. That helped.
Paris streets and sidewalks are hard even with good walking shoes. Cobblestones are even harder. My feet feel bruised. This was painful on my arthritic toes.
The Metro is arguably the best public transportation system I have been on. A $2.00 ticket can take you anywhere in Paris even with transfers. The carnet, a package of 10 tickets, is a convenient way to buy them.
The major museums are very crowded. Do not expect to have an intimate experience with the Mona Lisa. You can barely see her with all of the cameras being held up in your face.
Meals in Paris are expensive but the food is good. We ate at several restaurants and cafés and had no bad food experiences. Smoking is not allowed inside restaurants but it is in outside seating areas. Smoke seeps into the non-smoking area. We finally determined that the best place to sit was as far away from the doors as possible.
Decent hotels are expensive. Our room at the Hotel Muguet was large, clean, quiet and comfortable. The best room that we have ever had in Paris. It was worth the cost. Breakfast was not included in the cost of the hotel. I thought that it was expensive but when I added up buying the same things in small shops along the street, we had a bargain. Besides, we had fresh squeezed orange juice and bottomless coffee to go along with fresh flaky croissants and those other pastries with chocolate in them. Yum. Eggs were also an option.
The weather was cool and wet. We were prepared with rain jackets and warm sweaters. Ann had an umbrella. I finally bought one because the two of us could not fit under her's. I used it to cross the street once. After that, the weather cleared up.
People in Paris seem to dress much more casually than the last time we were here. We still saw some professional men in suits and women in dresses. The vast majority, though, looked too much like American sloppy. Drab grey is the latest non-color trend. Men especially looked like they found their clothes from the donation bin at Goodwill.
OK. On to Budapest