We did other things in Paris besides comic book shopping. We made an emotional visit to Jim Morrison’s grave so that my wife could say goodbye to her mother. We sat in cafes, drinking red wine and watching the snow fall while the crazy Parisian traffic screamed past. We randomly walked into what the guidebook later told us was one of the best cheese shops in Paris. We sought out, and found, fat girls stores scattered throughout the city. We did not, alas, buy any fat girls from said stores, although my wife did get a nice jacket from a saleswoman who spoke not a lick of English.
Our hotel was between the Arc de Triomphe and the Trocadero, which meant that we could (and did) see le Tour Eiffel from the plaza above the Trocadero Metro station. We also stomped around the Jardin de Tuilleries and watched little kids play with giant soap bubbles that some random guy was making next to the pond. And we found that locating the Concorde Metro station from the ground level is incredibly frustrating, especially in the cold.
Did I mention that it was cold? It was cold. We saw a lot of Brussels and Paris at high speed, mostly because when we stopped to admire something, the cold caught up to us. Sometimes, rain would fall to add to our enjoyment of the cold. It also snowed twice while we were in Paris, which added to the fun.
We also saw the worst French band we’ve ever seen open for Big Pink in a club in Belleville. Big Pink was amazing and the lead singer will do great things if he can curb his self-destructive tendencies. My wife is a DJ, so it’s become somewhat of a tradition to go see bands (big or small, she doesn’t discriminate) when we go to any random city. We discovered that it’s fun to do it in cities where you don’t speak the language. (In Brussels, we saw Good Shoes at an old greenhouse that had been turned into a cultural center/performance space.)
Our other major complaint (besides the cold) was the number of staircases in the Paris Metro system. There were times that we would walk up a flight of stairs, turn a corner and walk up two more flights. Then go down half a flight and up another flight. It got ridiculous very, very quickly. We did get treated to an impromptu guitar solo late one night, though. And there are accordion players on almost every train, asking for money.
Overall, the Metro worked out very well for us, taking us nearly everywhere that we wanted to go within the city. There are a lot of lines, but the real skill lies in being able to read a map, not in reading French.
Overall, it was a pretty city and we’d be prepared to go back in a month that wasn’t known for being cold. August, maybe. A pleasant time of year instead of a miserable time of year.
Next week, I’ll be talking about a French literary magazine that I picked up, in part seven of this twelve part series.