The Eiffel Tower

Originally uploaded by Pat and Amy’s pics

Paris was a delight. Contrary to any stereotypes Americans may have about the French in general or Parisians in particular, everyone we met was kind and understanding, despite our lack of any French language skills beyond bonjour and merci.

We had contacted a woman through Craigslist and arranged to rent what we thought was a room in her flat for our eight-day stay. When we arrived though, she gave us some instructions, asked if we had questions, handed us the key and left with her boyfriend. For far less then we would have paid for the most basic hotel room in Paris, we had our own private flat. It was small, very small, but it was in a great non-touristy neighbourhood and we loved it.

I won’t list all the sights, because you know what they are. I will say that the Louvre was not crowded because we went on Friday night, one of two nights it stays open late, and so avoided the daytime rush of tourists. We were able to walk right up to the main entrance and to buy tickets. We even got to within about two or three rows of gawkers beyond the velvet rope around the Mona Lisa, which is about as good as it gets, I think.

It’s fun to stay in a beautiful city like Paris long enough to have the chance to see some of the things many tourists do not. We walked through Bois de Vincennes, the Parc Des Buttes Chaumont, and the Bastille market, and we met up twice with a friend we’d first met in Montenegro. It is a wonderful city simply to exist in. A year or so ago we saw a movie called Paris, j’taime, or Paris, I love you. Now we understand it.