If you are tired of starry-eyed Paris posts, here is one to just refresh the fact that the French are a peculiar bunch. Just as it is the many details of this beautiful city that make me love it, it is the many quirky eccentricities of its inhabitants that makes them French. So for today I have some random (often irritating) encounters with those endearing French juxtaposed with pictures of the visual details that I love about Paris. Yes, the two really have nothing to do with each other, but I liked the pictures and they don’t have any other cool story or enthralling thought to go with them.-On the plane here I was seated beside a young French lady who had apparently just separated from the Chicago native love of her life. I add that detail to make very clear that her English was above adequate. We were in an exit row, so there was no room in front of us to stow our carry-on bags. I kept my purse by my feet, but she had a large purse and duffel sitting in front of her. The stewardess came by and told us that as we were in the exit row, we would have to put all our bags in the overhead compartment. Knowing that space would soon fill up and being a competitive American, I quickly put my purse above me. French Lady kept on texting her American man. The stewardess came by again and this time told the lady quite firmly that she would have to put her bags up. French Lady texted for another 5 minutes before finally stepping into the aisle, and seeing that of course, all the bins were full. She muttered a few “C’est pas possible!”s under her breath before the stewardess took her duffel and put it somewhere else. Another 5 minutes of angry texting ensued before the stewardess returned to this time demand that she put her purse up too, as she couldn’t have either by her feet. Naturally, French Lady had already decided not to obey, and would therefore never budge. She proceeded to spend the rest of the trip with her purse wedged behind her back and covered with a blanket.
-Saturday night I went out with friends to have dessert at an upscale restaurant that I have always loved. 45 minutes to be seated. 1 hour to get our desserts, during which time I am twice told that they don’t have what I have ordered. Another hour to finally get and pay the bill, which of course includes charges that bear no semblance to what was on the menu, whereupon the server just explains that he adjusted our orders to match what he decided to bring. Welcome to France: wait in line and pay.
-Paris summers mean many things that are wonderful. But they are also the reality of no air conditioning, sweaty people crammed in metros, and endless lines at everything remotely worthy of a photo. I need not detail the smell that one often wanders into, and the manner in which one becomes trapped in a sea of tourists led by leaders holding their umbrellas aloft.