What no one tells you about Paris

You are planning your big trip to the mystical city, la belle ville, capital of France: Paris. Everything is set: your suitcase is packed, passport ready to be stamped, and you’ve read all the “things to do in Paris” lists available on Pinterest.

But here’s what they didn’t tell you:

  1. Expect construction. It can be loud and an eye sore in your otherwise postcard perfect picture. Marie de Paris is always developing the city so expect to see green and white barriers in the roads and cranes in they skylines.
  2. Watch out for dog shit on the sidewalk and in the grassy areas at the park. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but, Parisians will leave a pile of their dog’s shit on the concrete or in a park. Double check before you sit down for that scenic picnic in Champ de Mars.
  3. No seriously, there are pickpockets so be careful. I’ve had my wallet and phone pick pocketed. Keep items close to you and in a secure bag. Don’t let people distract you with petitions or knickknacks, they are most likely scams or distractions for their partner to pickpocket you.
  4. Get a Paris metro map or a Paris map. A Paris metro map (Paris subway map) is very useful and is free at most metro stations. The Paris metro can be difficult to navigate for you first time, check out my how to article on navigating the Paris metro system. A Paris map is also useful and can be found at tourism offices and most shops near Paris attractions.
  5. Expect huge crowds at the top attractions in Paris. Even on rainy winter days, expect a line at the Eiffel Tower. For some Paris tourist attractions you can purchase a ticket in advance to skip the line at the billeterie. Many attractions in Paris can be purchased in a tourism package deal. You can always skip the typical “things to do in Paris,” but rather, spend your time Paris sightseeing the free Paris monuments and Paris landmarks. Still looking for things to do in Paris? Check out my blog series PinDrop.
  6. Suitcases are a pain in the ass in the city of Paris. Taking a suitcase from the crowded airport, on a bus or train, through the Paris metro, to your hotel can become a challenge which includes many sets of stairs. Depending on your trip length, think about taking using backpack instead.
  7. Paris time change is different than the States. Of course there is a time difference but be aware if you are traveling near daylight’s saving that France changes a few weeks after America. The Paris time zone is is Central European Time Zone (UTC+01:00), check a time zone map or time zone converter for your specific time difference. Personally, I use the world clock feature on my phone to compare times around the world when traveling.

 

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African Lounge

Paris is known for gastronomy, being a cultural hub with a wide variety of haute cuisine. I dined at an African restaurant, the African Lounge to be specific, this weekend.

The restaurant is very small but cozy, with modern decor. I was impressed by their use of reds and oranges to create a modern but natural atmosphere. On the walls of the restaurant were portraits of internationally promenient people of African descent. The booth styled seats had charming, comfortable pillows to rest your back upon.

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We had to wait, wedged by the door, almost an hour to be seated. Fortunately, we were able to order drinks at the bar while we waited. My  drink, a juice called jus de bissap, wasn’t on the menu but it  was delightful; naturally sweet and savory. We also tried the jus de jimjambe, ginger juice. It had a boldly spicy, refreshing and exotic taste. Also, the waitress took our food order so when we were seated, we didn’t wait long for our food.

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My dish was the poulet brezé with white rice. My friend got the poisson brezé with white rice and we shared banane plantin. The dishes were served with a tomatoe based sauce and the server brought us an additional spicy sauce. A sauce so piquant it stayed in the back of my throat for at least five minutes after I tasted it. A firey taste that burned, but, not much flavor.

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The poulet brezé dish included a variety of pieces cooked over a fire, bbq style, and topped with peppers. I found it a bit dry and hard to eat with silverware. In my opinion, it could have used a sauce or a glaze.

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The banane plantin, fried bananas, were delicious. They weren’t greasy or overly sweet. I found the entire meal, juice included, to have an organic taste.

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The small details of the decor kept the atmosphere natural and modern. For example, the bill was given to us in a beautiful, ornate wooden box. The cover had intricate carvings on it. Also, on each table were placemats in the shape of green, tropical leafs.

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I enjoyed the ambience of the resaturant. The restaurant was open late, which is convienent for a nice, late night meal. It was small but swelled with a sense of black pride. The food was good but I wouldn’t order the chicken again. For my taste, it was too dry and hard to eat at a restaurant. Everything else we had at the restaurant was delectable.

Click here for the restuarant’s website

Click here for the restaurant’s Facebook page

 

“Un spectacle vivant…ou presque”

Written by: Mohammed Bekada, Marco, Jane Resmond, Frank Victor

Directed by: Jo Brami

Location: Théâtre Mélo D’Amélie

Jane Resmond acts in the one-man comedy show “Un spectacle vivant…ou presque.”

The first character we meet is the lovable producer. Resmond disguises herself with a wig and glasses to portray the charismatic, comical character. She surprises the audience by returning between scenes, keeping the audience active and engaged.

51e1e3137b93988d57cfc7de2a0e56e5.jpgIn the second scene, we see God discussing the matter of overpopulation and the state of humanity on the phone. His solution to all of the problems caused by humans? Send everyone a card, red or blue, which determines their fate. One means you can continue to live on Earth. The other indicates that you will be sent to heaven… But, you must die first.

Resmond acts a variety of characters’ reactions after they recieve thier card. Each character is extreme and unique, having unexpected personalities and reactions.

Resmond’s best quality was her ability to interact with the audience and be personable. The script was well written with many surprises to keep the audience interested and the jokes were hilarious!

Paris le moche

“Tu sait Karla, Paris en mars est moche!”

Wisdom from a nine year old to slip on a pair of rainboots and never go out without an umbrella because Paris in March is ugly! Gray skies and cool, humid air is the forecast for this month. 

April showers come early in Paris and I can’t wait for the flowers!

“Je buterais bien ma mère un Dimanche”

Written by: Julie Villers

Directed by: Johanna Boyé

Location: Le Point Virgule

Julie Villers acts the role of three women, three generations of family in the crude comedy theater piece “Je buterais bien ma mère un Dimanche.”
aff_JulieVillersrevendeurs_640The onewoman show follows three characters: a kooky but sweet girl, her cold, regretful mother and the smoking, sensual, senile grandmother. Each is stuck in a past of regrets that revolves around the unwanted birth of a daughter who disrupts the mothers’ careers. Each mother blames their child for holding them back and stealing their youth.

This dramtic comedy piece, though hilarious and full of crude humour, still manages to pull at the audience members’ heart strings. Three generations of women, lost in the past and blaming each other for their misery. A broken family who may not forgive themselves and accept each other.

Julie Villers brillantly played all three characters. She was able to switch seamlessly between characters. The use of specific mannerisms, voices, facial expressions clearly distinguishing each personality and tell the individual’s story. Villers began her humor in the waiting line outside, kept a high energy throughout the show and engaged well with the audience. Her dynamic, talented performance deserves a round of applause!

Click here for tickets.

Parle moi d’amour

30 years of marriage explode in a witty hour and a half play written by Philippe Claudel. An older couple, played by Caroline Silhol and Philippe Magnan, spill their darkest secrets, self loathing and life regrets in a brilliant romantic comedy.

parle-moi-d-amour-bigThe husband and wife contrast each other in every way. The wife is elegant, artistic, acknowledge. The husband is cold, with an eye only for business and takes no pleasure in the abstract art his wife loves. Their conflicting personalities erupt into a raging disagreement, each pulling out the other’s skeletons from their marraige closet. They go back and forth insulting each other in an amusing manner. Alternating dialogue and movents around the stage, the actors keep the audience laughing with politcal references and backhanded compliments.

The comdey climaxes when the argument is no longer humourous, taking a dark, serious tone. It felt as if all the love and compassion had been sucked out of the room. Fear grabs the hearts of the audience memebers as the mind teases them with the thought of the play ending with the ending of the marriage.

But alas, they forgive each other as they have always done in the past. Their marriage, though not perfect, lasts due to their ability to give and take. Their realistic marriage, with faults and shortcomings, is a beautiful testament to the humanity of the world and the power of love.

Parle moi d’amour. Talk to me about love, compromise and acceptance

The show is currently in Paris, directed by Morgan Perez, and will be showing at the Pépinière Theater Tues. through Sat. at 9p.m., and  6 p.m. on Sat. from Feb. 7 to March 31.

http://www.theatrelapepiniere.com/spectacle_parle_moi_d_amour.html

http://paristheatre.over-blog.com/2017/01/parle-moi-d-amour