So, I thought Rome was all that and a bag of Utz and it is, but France with its wider than life boulevards and matchy-matchy buildings is a contender.
I will start out by saying that I like the feel of the Italian lifestyle better from the 2 cities I visited in Italy (Rome and Venice) vs the 2 in France (Paris and Provence). The Italian culture is just cool. They either stand up and scarf down an espresso and pastry or they linger for hours and hours. We seemed to see more of the chill than the former. They can also dress like nobody’s business. It is amazing to see a 75 year old at 8 am having breakfast in a velvet blazer and dark jeans and a scarf. I digress, back to my love for France:)…
The French (or Parisians) seem to be more hurried as a whole. I did go in August, so maybe they were running from tourists.:) But they get started late and finish later! We went to Starbucks at the bottom of Montmartre and heart of Pigalle (sketchville) and it didn’t open until 8! And it is totally common to have dinner at 10 p.m. or later! Below are pics of Moulin Rouge from Starbucks and a late dinner (11 p.m.) at a spot below our apartment. Our neighbors across the street would have a full course meal on their terrace during bedtime for us. And everyone is thin!
But let me tell you, despite their weird ways (weird to me) and their somewhat unapproachable manner, I love Paris! I felt so entranced and almost romantic from the second I stepped foot by the Eiffel. My guy is right, Rome is fabulous (to us) but Paris has a larger number of iconic sites. And for me, its literary and artistic history is pretty fabu. We stayed across the street from Cafe des 2 Moulin known for its ties to many famous people and a movie, Amélie’s where the lead character worked. We never ate there, but walked past it 20 times the 8 days we were there. This pic was taken out of our kitchen window.
Montmartre starts right around this restaurant and goes straight up some San Francisco size hills up to one of the other windmills and the Sacre-Couer. These pics are a few of many of grand Montmartre, an area that was originally for the poor starving artists. According to my guy, and history, this was not a fab area and was outside of the city’s walls.
“The list of famous artists who took inspiration from Montmartre is long: Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Brissaud, Alfred Jarry, Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Suzanne Valadon, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Maurice Utrillo, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani to name but a few…” (http://www.feelslikehomeinparis.com/tips/famous-people-in-montmartre)
I am not a fan of how much graffiti is around Paris, but leave it to cool and hip Montmartre to have this cat mural on the side of the building. One thing that I love about the French besides baguettes and good cheese is that they are crazy about cats.:)
We ate at cafes in Montmartre and all over Paris and the food was okay. We found a few jewels unexpectedly when eating out, but just sitting at a table immersed in the Parisian culture made a mediocre meal quite magical. My favorite foods were at our neighborhood lunch spot up the hill a block, their quiche and croque madame. And of course I forgot the name of the place! The food I listed may sound simple, but I feel like in regards to their food, rustic was what they are best at.
My next post on the city of Lights will cover more than just our area, because of course I have to put the obligatory historical sites in. Thanks for reading and for looking at my pics. Below is a pic of our roommate while in Paris. Mr. Bengal was quite the nut, and it was quite French of the family to leave him in our care. 🙂