The three of us found that sometimes the most interesting, surprising adventures come along while traveling the streets of Paris between points of interest.
Stalled in traffic leaving the EuroStar station, we saw an unusual parking lot. Cars could jump the curb on a boulevard and park between skimpy little poles. Weather protection canvas could be rolled out to cover the vehicles.
Street intersections were sometimes marked with American standard type of name on a stick signs, but more often the street names were on a plaque afixed to the corner of a building. That was a great help for finding our way around.
Stop and look at the doors. Beautiful embelishments of distinct style added to the richness of our walking experience.
Open air markets were a fun stop. We saw stacks of fruits and veggies along with deli cases with breads, prepared quiches, tarts, and other meals. Watching the citizens here doing their shopping or lounging at asidewalk cafe added to the experience.
Street musicians ususally set up on or near the bridges are entertaining with varying degrees of talent.
We were absolutely thrilled to be able to find and use the self cleaning toilets. Oh, how I wish these would catch on in the States. I admit we pushed the wrong button once and were locked out while the cleaning process repeated itself. Our other experiences were usually at cafes. These are tiny, dark, often uni-sex rooms in the basement that you have to negotiate narrow steep stairways to find. Sometimes the men's stalls only have those swinging saloon style doors on them. Thats difficult for our MidWestern sensibilities.
Once there you often have to pay or leave a tip for the attendant.
Kiosks with adverisements were an architectural gem in themselves. Fun to read some of the ads, too.
Locks of love.
One of the unusual things we saw crossing the bridges were paddlelocks permanently afixed to the rails. Initials of lovers were etched or painted onto the locks before attaching. I laughed at the poor man's locks of love which were made form plastic bags tied to the rail.
Flea markets, and sidewalk vendors lured us it. In fact my favorite souvenir of the Paris trip was found at a canvas walled sidewalk shop on Blvd. St. Germain. The vendor sold amber jewelry and fur hats. His wife is the milliner. I was able to strike a bargain with him as I didn't have the amount of cash he wanted and he didn't take plastic. He settled for what I could spare from my cash. I am very happy with the deal we struck. I have total strangers cross crowded rooms to tell me they like my brown fox fur hat.
Walking up the Champs Elysees was a bit of a disappointment for me. I did buy a T-shirt and an ornament at one of the many stores. I took an obligatory picture of the Arch de Triomphe. The one highlight was a cafe with copper pots covering the ceiling and a kiosk outside was topped with pots.
The streets of the city have a certain uniformaty due to building height restrictionof 8 floors. This really lends to a classy look to all the neighborhoods. Iron grillwork is featured widely. In most parts of the city you can catch a glimpse of the Eiffle Tower.
The city is vast and I know we only covered a small part of it. I never felt uncomfortable or lost. It was an excellant experience.