I took over a hundred photos in Paris and it’s taken me most of the day to get them on to my computer, sort through them, put the panoramic shots together, and upload my favourite photos. This is partly because my laptop is very low-powered to deal with large photos (especially the panoramic shots) and partly because I keep losing my internet connection. I’ve also finally run out of my free allowance on Flickr… time to upgrade to a paid account I suppose so I can keep sharing photos with you all.

Needless to say I saw all of the usual sights but I didn’t bother to upload some of the more “touristy” photos.

Here’s a selection, the rest are on flickr:

The sky wasn’t giving any clues as to what weather lay in store (rain, as it turned out). But it made for a good photo.

Sunset from my window near the Boulevard St Germain.

The last two are from the Opéra. You know, the one with the Phantom. It is an incredibly large, opulent, and rather spooky place, with a thousand hiding places for any would-be Phantom. The part open to visitors feels huge but is only a fraction of the area of the Opera. It was also quite difficult to take photos that accurately represented the light and colour inside the Opéra, so I am quite proud of these photos, especially as I had no idea what I was doing with my camera! There are more over on Flickr that show the Opéra on a grander scale.

Staying in Paris was such an interesting experience, especially after London. You can understand why the French and the English don’t get along so well! While here it’s all about not making eye contact to anyone or talking to strangers, Parisians love to engage with their environment and each other. They are forever observing, and remarking, which meant that with my extremely rusty French I had to be forever on my toes! But once I got over the culture shock I rather liked it.

And yes it is true, from my observations the Parisians (even sometimes those working in tourist occupations such as crêpe stalls – but then if an American came up to me and asked for a “craype” I’d probably be a little unhelpful too) were sometimes a bit iffy about those who spoke no French, but absolutely thrilled if you gave it a go. For example, I stopped to get some sand out of my shoe in the Louvre, and a little middle-aged French man started talking about how you get sore feet from walking so far in the Louvre. We ended up having the usual “you’re from New Zealand, that’s so far away, how come you speak French?” conversation, which was quite good except for the fact I don’t think I’ve ever learnt how to politely extricate oneself from a conversation in France!

Still, being in Paris could be quite an intense experience at times, and I was quite glad to get back to the familiarities of England and a culture that’s not completely foreign to me (but more on that later).

ps: In case Christine reads this – yes, I bought Parisian shoes!


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