Ok, if you'd really like to get in the mood for this next post... head to iTunes Radio, select "International" and then "Chanteurs.org" - it will be fitting music for the trip. This city has is quirks, like anywhere, but it really does get into your heart.
Moi-meme, I am this close to buying a Vespa, a pack of Marlboro Lights, and letting my dog relieve himself without picking up after him.
Now there is normally a negative connotation to any kind of cliche, but in this case all the cliches are authentic and they just work.
- As I write this, an accordion is being played in some other unit in the building, and the sound is wafting through the window. On some days, it's classical music rising up from some window in the courtyard.
- There literally is a fresh fruit stand on almost every corner.
- Ditto for bakery/pastry shops - placed with devastating accuracy so that as soon as the smell of one leaves you, another one picks up the slack.
- Virtually every neighborhood has its own pedestrian-only street, full of cafes, restaurants, butchers, bakers, and cancer-stick makers (everyone still smokes here). Streets like Rue Daguerre in Montparnasse and Rue Montorgueil near Marais (check out this video and the almost-fake-it's-so-authentic accent of the hostess) are just perfect and a real antidote to the North American big-box store.
- It's not a city stuck in a time-warp however - the aforementioned Velib program and programs like Paris Wi-Fi (a wireless internet connection in every park and green space) are decidedly modern.
There will be a few problems, as with any big city - and it's not all sunshine and croissants, to be sure.
- I'd suggest the noisy buildings - at any given time, you can hear noises from 4-5 units within your building, including the apparent bowling alley upstairs from us - are the biggest hassle.
- If you are a virulent non-smoker (I am not), you might get upset.
- It can be pricey - no getting around this in many ways, though you don't need to eat out every night.
- The serious countenance of the people can be a turn-off, but if you don't focus on it and you maintain your own inner happiness, you'll meet plenty of worthwhile people.
But most of this place makes absolute sense and provides many ways to enjoy day-to-day life, at least from a part-time visitor's perspective.