My favorite thing about Paris was the beauty and history. We took a bus tour around the city and were reminded about the wars that raged in this beautiful country and how it has survived. We were told that the general in Paris was told to destroy the Louvre; fortunately, he did not. The Louvre is an unbelievable piece of architecture and history. The eiffel tower is more beautiful than I ever imagined. It had just rained, and the tower was in stark contrast to the dark clouds. Incredible!! The Louvre. The people. The history. The architecture. The colors. Everything about Paris was incredibly beautiful, even the old "delapitated" buildings. I only spent three days there, and would definitely go back and spend more time.
Start spreadin' the news...
Here's something that'll warm the heart of any travelling New Yorker, like me. Avenue de New York runs right along the Seine, along the right bank not far from the Eiffel Tower.
Note the graffiti on the street sign. I felt it quite appropriate myself. Now, where's my bagel?!!!! =)
What is a "BAGUETTE"?
A distressing decline in quality has been blamed on the industrialization of breadmaking. Since the 1950's, the time-honored methods and tools for making French bread have been, in many cases, supplanted by new equipment, techniques and ingredients designed to make more bread faster and more profitably. The result is bread that looks, tastes and feels much like cotton.
But luckily for lovers of real old-fashioned French bread, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward more traditional methods. The first sign of quality is a hard crust of a rich, dark caramel color. A flimsy crust, a pale, straw yellow color and an underside marked by tiny dots all indicate that the bread has been cooked in an industrial oven often from frozen dough.
The inside (or "mie" in French) of a good baguette should be a creamy color with large irregular air holes. The industrial loaf, on the other hand, will be cotton white, with tiny, regular air holes. The texture of a good baguette should be moist and slightly chewy with a full, almost nutty flavor. The industrial version is cottony, tasteless and dry. In France, not all long loaves are baguettes — for example, a standard thicker stick is a pain and a thinner loaf is a ficelle. French food laws define bread as a product containing only the following four ingredients: water, flour, yeast, and salt. The addition of any other ingredient to the basic recipe requires the baker to use a different name for the final product.
The baguette is a descendant of the bread developed in Vienna in the mid-19th century when steam ovens were first brought into use, helping to make possible the crisp crust and the white crumb pitted with holes that still distinguish the modern baguette. Long loaves had been made for some time but in October 1920 a law prevented bakers from working before 4am, making it impossible to make the traditional, often round loaf in time for customers' breakfasts. The slender baguette solved the problem because it could be prepared and baked much more rapidly.
Learners of French are sometimes surprised to discover that baguette refers to many kinds of stick-like objects, including baguette magique ("wand") and baguettes chinoises ("chopsticks").
Breaking the cultural barrier.
The French have a reputation for being snobbish with American visitors. However I found this to be only true if you first addresses them in English expecting them to speak English. I found if I approached them in french no matter how bad my french was they went out of there way to be helpful. My upon hearing my pathetic french would immediately help me in English.
Comfortable Shoes are a Must!
I walked about 12 hours while I was in Paris (it was just a day trip). Thankfully I had comfortable shoes. Paris is a walking city. Also in December it was chilly, although thankfully it wasn't incredibly cold so a coat and a scarf was just fine for me. The sun helped.