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Sunday, August 21, 2016

What I Learned in Paris

A few weeks ago our family spent a week in Paris, and it wasn’t nearly enough. The museums, the sights: What can I say? I can’t wait to go back. We weren't there long enough to enjoy it all. So, what did I learn?

Parisians like to eat out, and they like to eat late. Cafés are everywhere and most are crowded (especially at night). In fact, it isn’t unusual to see a group still eating and drinking at 11 and 12 at night. I could adjust to such a life style. Many of the cafés offer WiFi, but they are spotty at best (sort of like the air conditioning). Moreover, you often have to wade through a number of web pages; it's obvious that the goal of many is to get your email address so that they can send you advertisements.

The Paris metro (subway) is amazing. I was impressed 35 years ago, and I still am. You can get to within a few blocks of almost anywhere in Paris. In fact, I read somewhere that when asked residents often identify where they live by the nearest metro station.

Versailles is stunning. I missed it the last time I was in Paris, and I'm glad I didn't this time. Talk about the excesses of the rich. No wonder there was a revolution. That said, I’m glad that the revolutionaries left Versailles alone (at least for the most part).

Craft beer in Paris is quite good (as, of course, is the wine, but I already knew that), which was a pleasant surprise. Craft brewing isn’t as big in Europe as it is in the United States, but France may be a leader. One would think that Germany would be, but because of some very old purity laws (“Pure, Cheap, and a Bit Dull” “Pure Swill”), Germany appears to be falling behind. The "Hoppy Paris" website is quite helpful. Some of our favorites included the various "Frog" pubs, "Paname" (nice view along the Bassin de la Villette), and Brewberry Bar, but there are plenty of others.

Paris's pastries and other deserts are excellent. We ran into an excellent eclair shop, L'Eclair de Genie, which is in Paris's Marais district. My favorite desert? Limoncello liqueur poured over lemon sherbet or sorbet. Unbelievable. Could've eaten it all night if given the chance. Probably a good thing that I wasn't.

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