welcome to france, i'll be your tourguide

Good afternoon, all. I am no longer a pirate... for the time being. Instead, I am way-too-sleepy-person. However, I will take a break from falling asleep at my desk in order to complete my blogging assignment for today.

The pros and cons and things to see and things to avoid for Paris and Poitiers.

1. Poitiers

Pros: A city with lots of history. The regional accent is very easy on the ears. There is a little pâtisserie near L' Hôtel de Ville that makes the very best florentins au chocolat in the entire world. I have friends there who, although a little bit crazy and critical of americans, are very friendly.

Cons: It's on a hill, with a steep cliff on one side, so whenever you have to walk anywhere it's guaranteed to be uphill. Although it's a main stop on the TGV, it's still a ways from other places. It's where I went to high school, sorta.

Things to see: The town website. La cathédrale Saint-Pierre. La Place Notre Dame. Le Palais de Justice. Also, if you're in the neighborhood, go visit Le Parc de Futuroscope.

I can't really think of places to avoid, partly because I like Poitiers, and partly because I don't know it well enough to know about the really bad stuff.

2. Paris

Pros: It's Paris, for heaven's sake! You actually need to be convinced???

Ok, ok. Pros. You're completely plugged in to the heart and soul of France's culture, history and arts. It's a gorgeous city, with beautiful things to see all around. The transportation network is really great - better than any other major city I've visited. It's relatively safe, if you're not a dumbass. It's easy to get from there to many other exciting places in France and Europe.


1)Tourists. Let me say that again - TOURISTS. I HATE tourists. Especially American ones. Who think that they should be allowed to complain that a waiter won't speak English, seemingly not realizing that they are in the waiter's country, which happens to speak French.

2) The French work ethic - trente-cing heures and closed forever for lunch and all Monday morning?

3) Parisians. The people in Paris hate everybody equally - you, me, foreigners, each other, themselves. Of course there are exceptions, but I have found this to be a generality.

4) Students. Specifically young American female students, who have the opportunity to explore this wonderful city full of art and history and culture and wonderment - and instead they spend their entire stay shopping.

5) Smog, bad drivers, and cigarette smoke. Also, little tiny doggie poo on the sidewalks. Also pickpockets, in touristy areas.

Things to see: I'm not going to waste your time listing La Tour Eiffel, L'Arc de Triomphe, La Place de la Concorde, Le Louvre, Les Invalides, Le Sacré Coeur, La Cathédrale de Notre Dame, etc. Ok, so maybe I will waste your time.

Here's some things that are more personal to me: La Place du Marché de la Sainte Catherine, which is one of my favorite places and is magical with yummy food. Le Pont de l'Alma, nicknamed my thinking bridge because I like to go there with something yummy and just stand and think and watch the ferris wheel at La Place de la Concorde or turn around and gaze at La Tour Eiffel. It's good to visit the textile factories at Les Gobelins, because I'm a historian and I want all of you to be one too. Also, there's this little café somewhere near Rue du Bac (I can get there on foot, but I don't know the street name) that serves the best lunch salads in the world. In the WORLD. I would gladly travel across town just to eat there. Oh, and even if it is touristy, I love Pizza Pino on the Champs Elysées.

Things to avoid: Tourists, unless you are planning on telling them how stupid they are and then educating them about how to be polite to the native citizens of a foreign country. Pigale, unless you like that sort of thing. Les Halles at night, because it's sketchy. And the one TGIFriday's in the city (at least, when I lived there) which is located somewhere at M: Grands Boulevards.

Next assignment, if you would be so kind.

katie - Thursday, 12 June 2003 - 3:11 PM

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Comments (21)

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:23 PM -

Choose from these for your next assignment (I can't come up with anything as hard as you did for me):

1) Stories about learning French or making stupid, embarrassing mistakes in French.
2) Why did you go to Poitiers?
3) If France could learn/adopt one thing from the US, what would you want it to be? The US from France?
4) Have you ever seen a real live walrus? Because I don't think I have, even at the zoo, and I'm craving the sight of a walrus. 'Cause I'm crazy like that.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:24 PM -

5) Come up with a premise for a really good book/movie/TV show.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:26 PM -

6) Or a really bad one.

gravatar katie - June 12, 2003 - 3:30 PM -

No actual comments on my post? I must say I'm slightly disappointed.

2) I went to Poitiers because I requested an Orthodox family (for church-going purposes) and the only Orthodox family in all of France to volunteer to take students lived in Jardres, just outside of Poitiers.

4) Yes, I have seen a walrus, at the zoo. They are just like in cartoons - big, with silly moustaches, and they do make those funny noises.

5) The Katie Show!

6) The Katie Show... :(

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:33 PM -

I was bursting with assignments and had to tackle that first. #6 is my favorite answer. And my actual question for #2 was more along the lines of "Why did you go to France, the first time you went?"

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:34 PM -

I want to hug a walrus. Are they nice and docile, do you suppose? Would they let me ride them out to sea?

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:37 PM -

I've never been to Poitiers. I should go - for the Futuroscope if for nothing else. Paris, meh. But I will keep your places to see in mind for the next time I'm there.

gravatar katie - June 12, 2003 - 3:37 PM -

I have heard that they are rather temperamental. That they attack people who get too close thinking they can hug them and ride them out to sea.

I would also like to hug a walrus, but I bet they don't give very good hugs back with those little flippers.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:45 PM -

I also want to ride a hippopotamus. I couldn't straddle it, obviously, but I could lay face-down and hug on it. Large animals should be my friend. They should not throw me off and stomp on me.

gravatar katie - June 12, 2003 - 3:51 PM -

I hate to psychoanalyze, but I find it strange and interesting that not 24 hours have passed since you said goodbye to your beloved, and you're already talking about hugging large animals.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 3:55 PM -

He's not so large!

gravatar katie - June 12, 2003 - 4:00 PM -

I know that. Which is why I am curious about this "large animal" affair you are having in your wee Chilean's absence.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 4:04 PM -

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I just want someone to love me, even if it's a walrus. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 4:05 PM -

I like having conversations in my comments. It makes me look popular.

gravatar Jez - June 12, 2003 - 4:10 PM -

I ate at Pizza Pino on the Champs Elysées last Friday. Very nice it was too. I shall be dining at the Montecristo Café on that very same avenue tomorrow.

The ferris wheel at Concorde is no more. I only went on it once. In the freezing cold. It was rubbish. And cold.

I am the walrus. Goo goo ge choob.

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 4:16 PM -

Cheap excuse for a hug, claiming to be the walrus!

gravatar Jez - June 12, 2003 - 4:20 PM -

I'm all innocent, me. I just can't get that Beatles song out of my head at the moment.

gravatar katie - June 12, 2003 - 4:21 PM -

I will give you both hugs, even though I am not a walrus.

I like Pizza Pino because they are really italians and they woo me and call me bella when I walk in. :)

gravatar srah - June 12, 2003 - 4:25 PM -

I should learn Italian...

gravatar lee - June 13, 2003 - 4:07 AM -

TGI Friday's at Grands Boulevards has only gotten worse. Walking by there for the first time in months sometime last week, I noticed that the menus on the table still say TGI Fridays, but the name of the restaurant is now...yes...Sunset Boulevard.

I agree with you on the tourism bit, and the annoying Americans who come here to shop. They usually talk really loudly and pretend they speak good French, too (they don't).

But I don't agree that the Parisians are mean or hateful. I find them far easier to get along with than "friendly" Americans. But for some reason I seem to be one of the only people I know who feels this way.

gravatar katie - June 13, 2003 - 7:19 AM -

I don't think all Parisians are that way. It's just a vibe I picked up.

And to clarify in agreement with you, I think American tourists are a thousand times worse than the worst Parisian. :)

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