As I have, perhaps, alluded to previously, we spent the second half of April in Paris. Notes:
- It’s the most wonderful place in the world, but I’m actually not feeling particularly compelled to visit it again any time soon. Some of this has to do with the fact that I’ve been there eight times; some of this has to do with the fact that I rather enjoyed spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s at home, and am not sure how much I want to do any vacationing for the sake of vacationing. Of course, this is all subject to change at any time, and Liesl and Miranda may have different opinions.
- We’ve had bad hotel luck in the past; based on recommendations from comments on this blog post, we decided to try renting an apartment this time. We went with absoluliving; not as cheap as a cheap hotel, but for the same price as a decent hotel, we could get two bedrooms and a living room, with a clothes washer, a stove (not that we used it), a fridge. Or at least we thought that’s what we were getting; the day before we were supposed to leave, they e-mailed us to tell us, with no explanation whatsoever, that they were changing apartments on us; we ended up in a one-bedroom apartment, which they had the gall to call an upgrade because it was in a trendier neighborhood. To be fair, the apartment wasn’t a complete unknown, since we’d marked it as acceptable from the list of apartments they’d initially proposed to us, but I still didn’t appreciate the bait-and-switch, or whatever it was, at all. (Also, to be fair, I’m happy enough with the area we ended up in, and will consider staying near République in the future, but I didn’t like being in the middle of a very long block on a side street.) The other problem with the apartment was that one window kept squeaking open and closed all night when it got really windy; I’m not really mad at them about this, because I’m not sure how they would have discovered it by inspection, but it does point out a problem with an apartment agency that you don’t have with a hotel, namely that you can’t just complain about a maintenance problem and have them move you, because they might, say, be closed on the weekend. (Fortunately, it happened on a Thursday, and they managed to get somebody in on Friday who eventually stopped the squeaking by duct-taping it shut.) Anyways, one separate bedroom (Miranda was in a sofabed in the living room) is vastly better than everybody sharing a bedroom, so the general idea was a good one.
- Poor Liesl was sick some of the time; fortunately, it wasn’t nearly as bad as when we were in Amsterdam, but she stayed in the apartment for three (two?) of the days because of that. Partly because of that, we didn’t go to as many restaurants as we might, but we still got some good food out of the trip (including one from a restaurant that apparently changed hands about a week after our last trip and was completely, surprisingly different this time); visiting salons de thé in the afternoon may have been my favorite part of the trip. (The pizza at decent Italian restaurants in Paris is quite nice, too.)
- Why had I never heard of Lovis Corinth before? My first reaction is that I’d rather look at his art than, say, that of Van Gogh or Gaugin or Seurat. Looking at labels suggested that part of the reason is that his art is scattered around museums in Germany instead of clustered in museums in Paris; glad I’m aware of him now.
- The baboons at the zoo in the Bois de Vincennes are a hoot.
- Having internet access in your apartment is a good thing. And no, this is not a sign that I need to relax and tear myself away from the internet: this is a sign that I don’t feel compelled to spend every vacationing hour traipsing from site to site and can, instead, spend time in my hotel just enjoying myself without feeling guilty that I should be doing more on vacation.
- Having a washing machine in your apartment is also a good thing. And points out another benefit to the internet: if your washing machine is refusing to wash and just blinking when you hit a number, you can google the model name and get a manual. (Answer: you accidentally hit the child lock button; hold it down for four seconds to unlock, and what you thought was the off button is actually the start button.)
- Miranda’s favorite museum turned out to be the sewer museum.
- Sacré Coeur is distinctive to look at from a distance but boring on the outside. Not so Notre Dame: there’s something to be said for thousands of people working for hundreds of years to produce something glorious.
- I really am not impressed by the current Orangina ad campaign: large-breasted zebras just don’t do it for me. Sex, fine; animals, fine; combining the two, ick.
- We forgot to buy a power converter; fortunately, the basement of BHV had them for sale. (They had one that went both directions, 110-to-220 and 220-110.)
- Traveling with several puzzle books from Nikoli was an excellent idea: not only are the puzzles top-notch, but the narrower-than-US form factor meant that I could slip one into my jeans pocket, which is very useful when walking through museums where I’ve had to check my backpack, finding myself a room or two ahead of Liesl and Miranda because we go through them at a different pace, and needing to amuse myself. I’m getting a bit burned out on Nurikabe (though I still think they’re an excellent puzzle variant), and Number Link isn’t my fave (once the puzzles get out of the easy range, I have a hard time proving my solution is unique, which frustrates me), but I’m still a big fan of Masyu and Slitherlink. I’ll have to try some of their other puzzle types.
- I really can dial down the number of books that I take on a trip these days: I have enough other entertainments that I don’t need to carry nearly as many to avoid running out of them. (And there are always bookstores if I guess wrong.)
- Heavy curtains are great for the first night or two after getting off the plane, but in retrospect I should have stopped closing them completely after that: I never really got my clock adjusted to Paris time. The flip side of which was that lying awake at night gave me lots of practice in going over my Joyo kanji…
There are no revisions for this post.