Moving around in Paris
Language is a great problem here. Most of them will not speak English. The first thing you need to do is collect map of Tourist Bus (The top open double-decker type) and plan your route. There are three routes and the buses are in three colors. Buy a whole day pass or a bigger pass depending on your stay. Plan your route and then drop down to the nearest place. In season the buses are almost full - and you may have to wait for the second bus in many places. This is one of the cheapest way to cover Paris. The best memory of Paris is of course the cruise on the River Siene. You can plan the Eifiel Tower and the Cruise the same day. The cruise offers one of the breathtaking view of the city and if you are lucky to get a side seat do not forget to load your camera and carry extra rells if you are not in the digital age.
What’s a Morris?
This cast iron structure is called a “Colonne Morris” . Why these are called (in English) Morris Columns, or who they are named after, I do not know. It appears their only purpose is to support streetside advertising posters, so perhaps they were introduced by the Morris Advertising Agency or something? I’ll be happy to be enlightened! They have been a part of the Paris streetscape for many years, however, to the stage that they are almost emblematic of Paris.
Update Thanks to my VT friend Kokoryko, I can now advise that Morrises take their name from a Parisian printer Gabriel Morris, who developed this advertising media in 1850 and they were introduced in 1855-1860 by a specialised advertising company with his name. Some of them rotate and some contain toilets.
Update 2 Further thanks to my VT friend JLBG for reassuring me that Morrises are not going to become extinct and, in fact, are expanding to other French cities. (I had heard they were being progressively removed).
Cultural Differences - Europeans v. Americans
Funniest moment - we're waiting for the green/yellow bus to pull up at the stop near Nôtre Dame and one of the British passengers remarked "Look, dear, they drive on the wrong side". My friend & I, being from the U.S., just cracked up. The French drive on the right side of the road just as Americans do! Different perspectives and so unexpected!
Photo: March 2001
Foreigners Sit Together
It's happened to me personally and I've read alot of times it's happened to other Americans and other foreigners: We foreigners will be seated in one dining room apart from the French.
I really don't know why this occurs, but could be the restaurant staff thinks we have more in common being non-French? I haven't had any problem with this custom in cafes, brasseries, and many restaurants, just certain ones. I won't generalize and say it happens all the time but it can and may happen to you.
Looking Good While in Paris - Women
Very importantly, a good bag is a must. Leave the fashionable purses at home and bring something sturdy, reliable, and spacious! Make sure your bag has a thick strap, else a pickpocket could snap it right off. First of all, scarves! Scarves are everywhere in Paris. Even on Air France, the flight stewardesses wore them! Also, darker, more natural colors are more predominant in Paris fashion. As for shoes, make sure they are comfy! Most of the roads in Paris are cobblestone, and you will be walking constantly. However, I would advise against gym shoes, unless you want to look American... Comfy sandals, or tennis shoes (like Pumas) will help your feet feel better while fitting in with the Paris look.
Skinny jeans are in, so pack some of those if you have them. If not, darker colored jeans are more in style, without rips. Parisian women tend to dress up more. I also packed some flowing, long skirts for the hotter June weather. Lastly, to save space, it is always a good idea to mix and match clothes. I did not pack a new outfit for each day. Re-wear clothes such as pants, skirts, and shirts to save valuable space. It will be worth it when you have more room for souvenirs. And when you don't have to pay a fee for overweight luggage!