My adventures in France. Oui, Oui.
|Paris – or as the French call it – Croissant! Which is derived from the Latin, “Crois” and “ant”….which means: “sautéed” and “ant”…respectively. You see where they’re going with this.
Paris really is a magical city; not just because they speak a magic language I don’t understand, and magically avoid being hit by cars even though they jump out in front of them at the last second. No, it is magical because I managed to enjoy every moment in a land ruled by the French…Ba-zing!
The first thing I did in France was learn a few useful phrases; such as, “I don’t speak French”, “Do you speak English?” and “Can I try the Speedo in blue?”
However, many Parisians speak more English than they claim. It became a sort of game to see those who “no speak English”; to convince them to speak a few words of English, and then a few sentences, and eventually have a full conversation with me in more grammatically sound English than my own. I think they’re just shy.
In reality, I found the French to be extremely helpful and kind…but ONLY if I asked, "parle vous anglais". If I asked, “do you speak English”, they just politely flicked their cigarette in my eye and walked off. I find that if you show a little respect for a person’s culture, you are well received...meaning, not purposefully run over by a bicycle.
Now, let’s talk about the Louvre… I think I spelled that right…. You can never tell with the French!
(I’m about to go on a tangent)
I think they just like throwing in extra letters to make words look fancy. Paris is pronounced without the s. Ballet is pronounced without the t. And “Queveouneaux” is pronounced Kevin. Ridiculous. You’d think they’d be happy enough with their striped shirts and fancy canals, but noooo, they hav tah go n’ fancify thar lang-age. An I ain’t standin fer it! No, sir! Whoeee!
Okay… The Loov. I had heard that the Louvre was a giant place, a mammoth of a museum. But you know how the French tend to exaggerate (we have an army!!...i.e. six guys drinking wine, munching on cheese, and poking light posts with their bayonets). So, I thought I’d check it out myself. As I’m walking to the museum, I’m factoring in all the time I’ll need that day to see the rest of the city, and in the distance, I see a massive building where the museum is supposed to be. I thought, hey, that can’t be right. Then I see the signs: The Louvre. Merde! (French for: @%*!) Now I have to forget all my plans for the rest of the day - I’ve got some culturing to do. I spend the next four hours sprinting up and down the museum halls, in an attempt to get a blur of everything France has to offer in art. Here’s a summary:
The Mona Lisa:
First off, the painting is tiny. It is a lot smaller than you think. Fact: it’s a postcard DaVinci made while traveling. He got some dame to pose for him on his way to lunch, slathered on some paint, then sent it home. Some people liked it, so they framed it. The rest is history….well, art history. Which isn’t real history… and much more boring… I always prefer my made-up history.
The Mona Lisa smile:
People are always wondering what she was smiling about, why such a sly grin. Well, I’ve figured out the mystery. Here’s the answer….
It says so on the plaque.
Yeah, I didn’t believe it either, but everyone spends their time looking at the picture, they never read the fine print. She just laid one as DaVinci was painting her mouth. He even threatened to kick her out when he got a whiff of it. Apparently, it was pretty rank, one of the rankest in history. Go and see for yourself… she definitely has that look as if she did something smelly.
Venus de Milo:
Not that hot. I don’t know what the big deal is. I mean, sure she’s maybe a seven and a half…eight on a good day, but no supermodel. Now, if they had sculpted Heidi Klum... I bet that piece would be eighty times more popular.
The picture with the lion eating the baby and the woman freaking out:
What the...? You have to see it. Now THIS picture is a mystery! Some woman is sitting two feet from the lion; she’s shouting angrily and has her hands up in the air, as if to say... “I just have the worst luck!” The lion just looks melancholy, not really sure if the baby is worth his time, especially with this dirty raving woman ruining his appetite. And the baby…well, he’s in a lion’s mouth, so he’s not too happy. But just trying to figure out how this could have occurred is way better than wondering about Lisa’s flatulence.
Egyptian section of the Museum:
It's funny that they can throw any rock behind glass, and expect you to be wowed. In Egypt, the same things on display in the museum sat on the back of the toilet seats in Cairo. In Egypt you can pretty much climb the pyramid (well….you’re not supposed to… but you're also not supposed to eat the fresh vegetables and get massive diarrhea, but that didn't stop me either!) whereas in the museum, you might get poked by a bayonet for looking too close at a piece of rubble that might or might not have once been located in or around the Egyptian region… allegedly... “At least that's what my uncle Roy said,” says the plaque.
And now for the rest of Paris:
The Eifel Tower. It’s pretty high up.
Sacre Cour: Church at the highest altitude.
Champs Elyse: Stores with the highest prices.
Moulin Rouge:… a lot of people in the area were probably high.
Catacombs: Very, very low.
They do ride bikes though, Holy Jesuoiux do they ride bikes! They’ve even got the whole city lined with bike lanes. It’s pretty wild. Oh, and they don’t like Lance Armstrong. Who can blame them, an American taking away the only thing their good at (riding a bicycle in skin-tight clothes) it’d put anyone in a rage.
Now, I don’t know what it is, but Europeans just don’t seem to like the concept of elevators! There must’ve been a great dictator who was once very fond of elevators, maybe even built golden elevators to the ancient gods. But when he was overthrown, the people destroyed all elevators and swore to never build another elevator as long as they lived. So now, out of their vengeance, you must trudge up the hundreds of stairs to the Sacre Cour, the four hundred eighty-eight steps to the top of the Notre Dame, the eighty-eight steps up and down to the catacombs, the four flights of stairs in the hostel, and the countless steps leading up to the Eifel tower -- technically they had an elevator, but that cost too much money for standing in a massive line in the cold rain and then cramming into a tiny box that moves at half the speed of a French education (ZING!)
Finally, the French seem a lot less “French” than you might imagine. I didn’t see ONE Frenchman with a beret!! And it upset me a lot. I had a moment of desperation at the end of my trip when I was boarding the train; I quickly glanced around the station, hoping maybe to catch a glimpse of a beret amongst the floating heads in the crowd…. But alas, my childhood dreams have been dashed by reality. Le sigh.