Driving around trying to find our hotel. The one-way streets and traffic made it quite fun. We knew where it was, we just couldn't get there. Once we finally arrived, we checked in and the usual. That night, it was quite hot. I don't know why it was so hot, but I don't think the hotel had AC, and we didn't want to leave the windows open for security reasons. Eventually, my father and I opened the windows, I think. (My mother and brother were in another room.) So, we lay in bed sweating, listening to the busy street below, horns blaring, people talking, the buzz of motors, a far-off siren. Soon, my father fell asleep. Lucky him, sort of. I wanted to sleep, but still enjoyed the sounds, and smells of downtown Paris.
don't forget to check out the...
don't forget to check out the outer districts, where the real people live, work, play, eat, and sleep. I found the immigrant neighborhood of Belleville especially vibrant and colorful, the face of France's future. Running around Paris in the middle of the night with crazy Parisian boys right as the sun comes up
Critters on the loose in Paris
If you look carefully you will see all sorts of critters in Paris, from the mosaic guerilla art of "la vache" or the pacman critter, to the pig in the pot sign and the "monster" eating the street number! I love coming across these details -- sometimes they are guerilla art, sometimes they are just regular store signs, but in any case, they reflect the Parisian spirit!
Just say NON to one stop shopping
Americans are accustomed to doing their grocery shopping at giant supermarkets and while supermarkets such as Monoprix do exist in Paris, it's refreshing to see that the traditional way of food shopping is still hanging on.
We strolled through the rue Cler area near our hotel one morning and found several shops along the street, each specializing in a different food group, one shop for fruits and vegetables, a butcher shop (boucherie), a bakery (boulangerie or patisserie), a cheese shop (fromagerie), a place selling seafood.
Institut du monde arabe
Not a main tourist attraction, but very worthwhile to visit: l'Institut du monde arabe.
Very modern building. The facade is impressive, the windows contain steel diaphragms that automatically open and close depending on the amount of light. Lots of steel and glass.
No entrance fee and on the 9th floor there is a panoramic terrace with a stunning view towards the Île de la Cité, Notre Dame and all that lies beyond :-)