Parlez-vous anglais?

I have spent the past few days using that phrase. My wife and I just finished our first visit to Paris, France with our son and daughter-in-law. This was an amazing trip. Although I probably butchered the French pronunciation above, I’m sure I inflected a Southern accent to this phrase. The way I said it sounded much like “parley view ang-lay-ez” which means “Do you speak English?”

Paris was amazing and to see the magnificent Eiffel Tower in person was more than I could have ever imagined. You see it on TV and hear about it all of your life but when you see in person, it takes on a whole new meaning.

So what are some things I learned about Paris?

I know that driving in Nashville, Tennessee is NOTHING compared to the way they drive in Paris. Our son drove us around and I am very glad he did. I would have been in my room curled up in a fetal position. The odd thing about it was that there seemed to be a method to the madness. It’s like everyone knew what the other was doing. Yes, they blowed their horns but it was just that. No road rage and no anger. People just wanted to get to where they were going. That’s it.

The people like it when you try to speak French to them first as in the phrase I learned to use. They appreciate the respect.

For a short stay, you can survive without knowing the language. There are many things in both French and English. If you are at a restaurant, you can request an English menu if it is available.

Touring the Louvre or Palace of Versailles takes a long time. You really need to commit at least a full day to touring each of these. We only scratched the surface on our visits such as seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

For the romantic side, although there is no longer the “Love Locks” bridge, (the bridge is there but you can’t attach a lock there) there are several places where you and your significant other can attached a lock to Paris to pledge your love. We found a place for our lock and it had a view of the Eiffel Tower.

While many people like to try new foods specific to that country, I am not one of those. I ate so I could sustain the days of walking 8-10 miles each day. You aren’t forced to eat French food. There are options just as they are in the US. You can still get your McDonalds or Starbucks fix if you get desperate.

It seems to me that Parisians just enjoy life. It’s more about living than working 9-5 or working for the weekends. They seem to know something that Americans can’t seem to grasp.

Okay, one thing I have to tell you about Paris that will blow up what you think you knew already. They don’t constantly pipe French music throughout the city. In fact, I heard more American music than anything else. It was a bit odd to eat at a French cafe while listening to Coolio’s “Gangsters Paradise”.

Paris was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget.

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