things i learnt in Paris, France.
- Never have midnight conversations with sleazy concierges after smoking a hookah. They may insult you by (basically) calling you a "gothic sewer rat" and then proceed to harass you about the colour of your panties.
Note: When entering hookah bar, casually check for some evidence of license...cops may or may not raid the place in the middle of your session.
Also, never drop hot, ouchie thing that keeps hookah burning, on foot. Parisian woman (who was in fact, indian) gets extremely angry.
- Do not go to Mardi Gras or "Gay Pride" AFTER the parade has finished. (by all means, go to it....it is so worth it. Completely different to Sydney Mardi Gras. ...more legal nakedness with less shame. More used condoms and random pieces of apparel lying around. Crazier costumes.. ..so nuts it made Lady Gaga look plain-jane. ...just beware post parade festivities...even if it is twilight (In the summer, it doesn't get dark till about 10:30-11pm at night) it is likely that creepy men (and women) will appear from the shadows as soon as the sun starts going down. I went with 6 other people and i think we were followed at by a dozen individuals, at least...in the short span of an hour. Also, so not try and draw attention to your self with what you are wearing. ..i chose a very loud red and white polka dot dress. ..50s cut.. and a kid on a bike nearly had a heart attack. I have no idea what he was saying at first, but he just kept on riding along with a shocked expression calling out MINNIE MOUSE!!MINNIE MOUSE!!
what a kid that age was doing on a bike in the middle of mardi gras, i will never know.
Another outfit-causing incident was when a lady with a buzzcut and a lit cigarette decided it would be funny to explore what was under my skirt. Needless to say, i got the shock of my life and was quite flustered by the ordeal... . meanwhile, her gang of gangly-looking friends sat there in a hilarious uproar at the sight of my 'tres grande derriere.'
- Take hardly any clothes to Paris. Then you can take full advantage of having a close to empty suitcase and fill it with AHHHMAAAZZZIIINNGG clothes (and shoes. ..and bags. ...and accessories) from Paris boutiques! !! Seriously. Take two outfits.. ..save and buy everything else. .
- Take chances. ..Talk to Strangers.
You just might end up an elf convention that is conveniently down a cul-de-sac-la-rue. ..which is just a mere jumpskipandahop from where you are staying. There you will watch people sword fighting in a side alley way, friendly bar wenches and a delightful display of colourful folk sporting the latest fashions from Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you find yourself repeating this experience you may even find yourself waking up in the early hours to the sounds of people weeping on a street corner about the death of the king of pop.
i did.. .
(Even though it was a terrible tragedy there was some good that came out it. Like, every single night club played countless remixes of his songs. ..GOOD ONES.)
- If you get to go clubbing in Paris take very little with you. .. Dance everywhere you are not meant to - the French do not like it .. ..but the expressions on their faces is worth it. In fact, one evening we were just about the only people in the place who got up and danced (still thoroughly enjoying the MJ dedications) .. . we thought we were sooo lucky. ...we had this incredible dancefloor space, the lights were flashing and people's eyes were on us. ...maybe the french did not like to dance after all, maybe they are not as gutsy as Australians, maybe they need need some inspiration or a few drinks. ...ah no, the dance floor was down stairs in creepy sweat-pit basement. we were dancing in the drinking lounge.
Also, befriend cute/metro DJ so he will keep playing MJ anthology and smiling and leaving gaps in the music for you and your friends to sing (or shout) drunken,lyrics loudly into microphone.
- Do go to small yet trendy, night spots in Bastille just so you can say you tasted delicious mint shots for 3 euro.
- Did i mention SHOP.? ..buy brogues. BROGUES. BROGUES. BROGUES. ...and mary janes.
- Drool over freshly imported garments from Japan and pop culture paraphernalia.
- Go to Monmarte. STAY THERE.
and never ever leave.
Gush over Amelie locations, avoid shifty African, bracelet makers and fall in love with everything else. (especially talented buskers. make up stories about them. ...about their secret, love affairs and their oversized shoes. then, stalk them a little bit.)
- Do NOT go to Maccas in Paris if you have chronic diarrhea - it will NOT "clog you up" nor will it 'take your mind off the pain in your stomach"
On the contrary, actually.
One bite of a royal cheese and the consumption of some strange caramel, yogurt beverage equals throwing up in the middle of a Parisian park surrounded by onlookers.
Thank Gawd the Maccas bags are JUMBO. ...perfect for hiding entire head in for post-shame and of course, ideal sick bag.
If you ARE feeling well however, have a beer with your happy meal. ..just because you can. it's a pretty sweet feeling to order alcohol in a restaurant full of children under the age of 10.
- Drink as much alcohol as you can. You pretty much can anywhere, anytime.
Some of the French may find it uncouth. ..but hey, you are in Paris. ..where else can you stand on the street eating a baguette, drinking vodka and smoke a cigarette and fit in perfectly with the locals? ??
- Do not buy a reasonable sized Smirnoff for 4 euros thinking it is "such a great deal" and then realise not much more than a mixer that tastes like dirty, dishwashing water.
DO go to Fran Prix . ..it is the equvilent to IGA in Australia. ..and it is a rather fantastic experience to be had. It is like a museum of weird packaged food.
The snack food is so crazy ... .chips that taste like peanuts, strange cheesy cones, not a litre of milk to be found and no single chocolate bars...must be bought in bulk!!
Only in France.
- Eat at restaurants. Steal FREE things. ...especially mini tubs of nutella. nutella is everywhere.Literally.
If you do decide to steal a croissant make sure you wrap it up securely before you end up with a pastry party in your handbag.
- Do go to incredible take away called "quality burger."
(huge highlight when hunger attacked)
Interestingly, just about the only place in Bastille that sold a milkshake.
- Try and get a hotel room that over looks out onto street. (The French are soooo interesting to watch!!) You may even spot a group of disheveled drunks (that you give names to, like Harold) that like to sit outside frozen food stores (yes, they just sell frozen food) or find an old lady who lives adjacent to your building to wave at and to generally spy on at all hours of the day and a man who likes to rub himself continuously on a large, concrete pole while talking on the phone. (??)
- Finally, Keep a look out for French talent. YUUM
If you keep alert it is pretty much guaranteed that you will see at least 7 overly, good looking people each day. ...the kind of good looking that you would jump into bed with an instant, no questions asked.