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Preconceived Notions: Paris, France

Posted by Christopher Wink on Oct 11, 2008 in Preconceived Notions |

Paris is the largest city

I imagined roving tourist locales - the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees and others - stuffed with travelers, many from growing middle class Asian communities, and plenty of Americans for Sean and I to stumble upon coincidentally.

There will be outdoor cafes full of chain-smoking, leftists, pretentious artists and Americans stammering over “Juh voodray un cafay oh late, seel voo plate.”

That doesn’t speak countrywide, being its 2.2 million residents make Paris the country’s most populous city and a hub for international exchange.

I expect to find an aged city with only flecks of that age left. This is, of course, the Paris that was occupied by the Germans during World War II and firebombed by the Allies - though not as completely as Tokyo.

It has shaken off much of its age to be sure. I do wonder on its mentality. This is a great city that has also suffered a great deal of decline, no? The sectors of international acclaim Paris once claimed - and maintains by residual reputation - seem to have gone elsewhere: fashion and film, art and politics have moved to Milan, Tokyo and even more resurgent cities.

Do those sniffling Parisians on those outdoor cafes still think less of me - a flag-waving American with a backpack and mediocre French?

We’ll see.

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