Can't afford to get plastered in Paris...

Trip Start Dec 10, 2009
Trip End Dec 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
fontaines du luxembourg

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Saturday, December 12, 2009

The first thing we noticed about the French Capital was the sub-zero temperature and maybe because of it, the almost empty streets.  Wandering the streets on the Ile de la Cite and around Notre Dame, was like the beginning of Open Your Eyes except that was Madrid.  That said, with hardly a soul about and with the sun shining we got a beautiful view of Paris.  

The second thing we noticed about Paris was the price of drinks and I don't just mean alcohol. Here, you can nurse a coffee all you like and despite the gaze of obvious disapproval from across the bar.  The reason? Well, if you're having a cappuccino, that'll be over 7 quid please.  It's not like we were in a bar that was any more touristy than any other bar, it's just that they seem to think that drinks should be at a premium.  In my youth it was deemed a typically French thing to do to sit in or (in summer) outside a cafe watching the world go by and sipping on a coffee.  Nowadays, it seems that they've assumed that you're renting some prime site and added this to the price.  On the other hand in the UK you can now sit and spend a whole day sipping a 'bucket' of coffee for less than half the price.  Hmmm interesting.

I don't want to only moan about the prices, but just in case anyone who owns a Parisian bar is reading this and wondering why their bar is full in the happy 'hour' from 4-8pm but empty thereafter, it's beacause outside these hours you charge between 12 and 15 quid for a pint!!!! Yes really!  If anyone is after a coping strategy it is really to drink during happy hour and eat afterwards, and the bars around the Sorbonne, seemed to be the best value we could find.

Prices aside, we enjoyed the beautiful weather, expressed disdain for the French people that expressed disdain, and enjoyed watching the beautiful people who happily traded fashion-sense for road-sense.  It's a beautiful city, which would have been even better if we'd had a little of the language between us.  Yes, the majority of the locals do speak English, but they really don't make it easy for you to discover and they can sometimes be a little intimidating (though I guess not deliberately).


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