Continuing the cultural imperialism education, I insisted we visit a French mall. I was largely disappointed; it was much the same as an American mall, but somewhat less grandiose. We have raised consumption to an art form here in the States to a degree undreamt of even in the 18th century, and I think we should take a little pride in that achievement. Still, there was a French Toys R Us, and I insisted upon a brief reconnaissance. Again, it was mostly disappointing, but there was a cool Asterix board game.
We found a Chinese restaurant near the mall, and tried it out. It was tasty, and not completely identical to American Chinese food (and, like every other restaurant in Paris, served the meal in courses -- bien!).
We also visited St. Eustache, which is a very pretty cathedral which, unlike Notre Dame, is not swarmed with tourists. Granted, it's not as imposing or impressive, but it was worth the visit nonetheless.
A few more pictures from that day, no doubt taken while walking between these various points (I don't remember for certain whether these were near the Beaubourg, or just city art):
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We returned to the hotel, and watched a little more French TV before dinner. Guess what it was? Saved by the Bell, Animaniacs, and Highlander. At least Highlander is co-produced by a French production company (and partially filmed in Paris).
I remember absolutely nothing about dinner, except that I apparently finally tried snails. Obviously they were memorable.
We left fairly early in the morning, so there's not much to say about this day.
The RER is the metro train which we took to and from the airport. It can get pretty darn hot, so it was appropriate that we boarded at Denfert-Recherau (which, if my notes are accurate, means "The Gates of Hell"). By this point, however, I was so overstimulated that nothing really affected me (including the many random audio declamations on the train & subway, especially since I speak no French).
In a fitting end point to the journey, the in-flight movie was The Fifth Element, another movie co-produced in France.
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Here's kind of an epilogue: after spending the week eating nothing but good chicken and fish (except for that one misguided McDonald's excursion) I found myself with no taste for beef. This lasted for about two weeks, and I actually felt pretty good about taking on a pass on cow flesh. But then, one day, I just had to have a cheeseburger. And that was that.
I look forward to going back soon, especially since I now have more money to spend on the important things, like food. It turns out to be surprisingly inexpensive to fly to Paris; from Pittsburgh, it cost about as much to fly to Paris as it did to fly home to the Northwest. That equation is offset somewhat now that I live in Austin, but not tremendously so. And let's not forget the rest of Europe!
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