Random Thoughts from France

I finally finished processing the pictures from France. Already it seems like it was so long ago. Here are some random thoughts from the trip.

  • Several Paris Metro stations are artistically themed. Arts et M├ętiers is done in a Jules Verne theme that makes it look like a steampunk station. Louvre-Rivoli has copies of some of the statues in the Louvre.
  • When pulling into a Metro station, the recorded voice will announce the station name twice. The inflection on the first one makes it sound like a question, while the second one is a statement. Tuileries? Tuileries.
  • Sue’s French was good enough that some people didn’t seem to know we were American until I opened my mouth.
  • As Hurricane Irma was approaching Florida, when people asked where we were from, and we said Florida, their faces would light up, they would smile, and then they would immediately drop the smile as they made the connection to the news about the storm and asked us how we were doing.
  • Some of the French food we got was fantastic. Most of it wasn’t very good.
  • Almost all of the other ethnic food we got was excellent. While in Paris we were able to find Senegalese and Tibetan restaurants.
  • Most ethnic food was simple to order since the name was simply a different transliteration than English, but the pronounciation was essentially the same.
        Pho = Pho
        Hummus = Hoummus
        Tagine = Tajine
  • Drivers in Paris will cram as many cars into an intersection as the laws of physics will allow, regardless of lanes or directions, on the assumption that they will figure it all out by the time they exit the intersection. They generally do.
  • Highway entrance ramps actually have signs for no left turn (if entering the highway) or no right turn (if already on the highway) to discourage people from going the wrong way. It seems a bit extreme, but then see the previous point about drivers putting a car any darn place they can.
  • In the older part of Tours, roads were so narrow that I’m surprised we didn’t damage the door making some turns.
  • After driving the narrow streets in Tours, we then noticed that almost every single car had damage to it’s side from not making a corner properly.
  • Sitting at a street-side cafe in Tours, corners were so tight that the guy at the table next to us had to pull his foot in when a car came around the corner.
  • There is almost no concept of take-out coffee.
  • We never saw a single speed trap, other than automated ones that are clearly marked ahead of time. They essentially had signs a few hundred meters before them warning you not to speed past the camera.
  • France has an odd (to me) “Priority to the Right” rule which means cars come barreling into the road from side streets without really looking and it’s your responsibility to make way for them.
  • Once again, roundabouts are fantastic!
  • Proper signalling in a roundabout is incredibly helpful.
  • Drivers will typically use their left turn signal when they pull left to pass someone, but they will leave the signal on while passing.
  • White shirts with blue horizontal stripes really are the national outfit.
  • Dogs and cats are everywhere, as though it’s just accepted that pets are part of peoples lives and will be in public places.
  • Dinner hours are limited. Many restaurants are only open from 7-10. If you miss out on their hours, good luck finding food.
  • Not only are the hours limited, but expect dinner to take at least 2-3 hours. They do not rely on turning tables like American restaurants so they are not quick about it, and if you get a table, it’s probably yours for the night.
  • It seems like absolutely everyone gets bread every day. We watched steady streams of people leaving bakeries with a fresh baguette on their way home.
  • Within a week we were both getting social media ads in French.
  • Two and a half hours is not enough time to clear customs and make a connecting flight in Atlanta.
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