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March 14, 2012 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Paris observations

AutoLib – electric cars to hire

Springing up all over Paris now are AutoLib bays where electric cars are parked & plugged in, waiting to be borrowed for short distances.  Fantastic idea. I can’t wait for it to catch on in London, as the Velib (bicycles) have.

Saturday evening traffic

Now we’ve been caught in heavy traffic four times, entering Paris at 19h30 on a Saturday night, we’ve found it is due to those living outside Paris, entering to go out to dinner, restaurants, the cinema or theatre etc. The same certainly isn’t found in London.

Bitter winter

Thank goodness Spring has arrived, but this winter, when it was soooo cold my bike brakes were frozen, I recalled Victor Hugo’s poem, l’expiation (= atonement, paying the debt for wrongs done), writing about French troops retreating from Moscow in 1812, when he called the Russian winter an ‘âpre’ hiver – a bitter winter.

Paris is a museum of museums, but I’m convinced that part of the reason why the museums are full at the weekends, especially Sundays, is that Parisians, who live in relatively small flats without gardens, are desperate to get out ! And there aren’t that many green spaces in Paris, except the huge Bois de Boulogne. So when it’s bitterly cold, parks aren’t that inviting, so the museums fill quickly.

The pleasure of being a resident in any touristic city is that one can drop into amazing places just for an hour or 2, enjoy them & be quickly back home.

For the tourists everywhere, there are always 2 main problems:

1)      they feel they have to cram into a short space of time an enormous numbers of things to do & places to see.

2)      It’s hard to tell where to find the places which are going to suit you best – eg restaurants with the right food at the right prices

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