Paris: the first two days

We are two days into our tour of Paris and here are a few observations.

1. My wife is absolutely wonderful in many ways but I want to focus on her vacation planning skills right now. The first two days have been a good combination of sight seeing and down time. As soon as we seem to be getting tired our next stop is a little cafe for a little cafe creme or hot chocolate.

2. "The French are rude, especially to Americans" is a myth. Perhaps if one acts like the quintessential, ugly American, the experience is different. However, Kelly and I have encountered nothing but gracious, courteous, and patient Parisians who are proud of their city, and what it has to offer, and want visitors to feel the same way. This has been true at the major attractions as well as the out of the way caf├ęs.

3. Example of #2. Yesterday we encountered a group of young people in the park near the Eiffel Tower running a con claiming to be working on behalf of a handicap charity. A local woman approached us after the group moved on and, speaking perfect English, told us to make sure we hadn't been pick-pocketed. She confirmed the group were con artists and that they work all the major tourist areas, and then she apologized for them and seemed genuinely relieved to hear all they got from us were a few euro. The fact that she was walking a dog that was the spitting image of our beloved Kady, complete with blue racquetball in her mouth, was just a pleasant bonus.

4. Earlier today we saw a similar group running the same con on a young American couple. As we walked by I told the man it was a con. He looked up and asked "it is?" I nodded and he took his wife by the arm and quickly walked away. My good deed for the day.

5. Paris is the second major European city we've visited dominated by scooters and motorcycles. They seem to be able to go anywhere with complete disregard for the traffic laws we're used too. However, they are very mindful of pedestrians, at least so far. I'm seriously thinking of replacing the truck with one.

6. Highly recommend the Rick Steves walking tours of the Orsay Museum and the Left Bank.

I'll add some more notes in the next day or so. Off to dinner on the first observation of the Eiffel Tower. My wife is so awesome!


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