Day 2: Being a Tourist
One of the perks of living in Paris is that you can count on having lots of visitors. Most days of the year, I avoid anything touristy, but then it’s always fun taking friends to the major spots (especially when they’re like Angie and have never been here before). I warned Angie there would be lots of people selling Eiffel Towers and overall crap when we were there, and boy, oh boy, they were out in full force. I thought you meant like one or two, she said, not a hundred!
The police were out too, and this “Pharaoh” got busted. The holidays are nice too because there are Christmas Markets all over the city. Sadly, they are all the same, and have the same things (every fourth stand hand the same hats). It left me pretty dumbfounded, and made me feel like the spirit that these markets were founded upon was completely lost in mass-produced generic goods, or stalls with interesting goods, but no basis for a story. Somewhere over time it seems that these markets switched from being for the locals to for the tourists. (The one at St. Germain is just the same – the same “chain” producing baked goods, donuts and vin chaud – and Abbesse may have a couple interesting stands, but otherwise more of the same).
Even a trip to Notre Dame (too cold and rainy for my hands to take pictures) left us feeling like jaded tourist rather than spiritually enlightened. It’s been years since I’ve set foot in this church, but the flat screen TVs, glass encased confessionals, and “make your own Notre Dame smooshed coin” machines behind the church alter were a bit much for me. But still good to take it all in, discuss and reflect and top it all off with a yummy hot chocolate at Pâtisserie Viennoise, the least touristy place of all. Mmmm.
December 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm //
We avoided the Eiffel completely on our last trip, but I try to always see Notre Dame…I too was disappointed with the commercialization of it all.
I’m sure you make the best tour guide! ;)
December 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm //
I was just there and totally agree! THere was a mass going on and everyone was walking around, taking pictures, and talking! I was sad :(
December 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm //
But, in the plaza in front of Notre Dame is the Crypte Archeologique…helps one appreciate the role that this spot has played in French history…remnants of houses dating back 2,000 years. OK, history is not to everyone’s taste, but out of the cold wind and rain AND gain an appreciate for this special spot!
December 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm //
There is one of those markets in downtown Chicago as well. It’s “German.” But flip everything over and you’ll find “Made in China”!