Michaela Merz

Paris

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Years ago I saw Massimo Rocchi’s programme that dealt with France. How he describes the French fascinated me. For him they are the ,,grande nation»». Everything is big, monumental, almost theatrical. That certainly holds good for Paris.

I have already visited Paris on numerous occasions. Reluctantly for business and with great pleasure privately. There is almost always a traffic jam from the airport into the city. Uncertainty whether the taxi journey will last 40 minutes or 2 hours. Many, who can’t speak a word of English.

On the other side there is so much to see and experience. The food is simply great, the people nice and accommodating. And out of every stone breathes history.

What do you do in three days, when you want to introduce this city to a child for the first time? Certainly climb the Eiffel Tower by foot. Experience the marvel of the 19th century as it were on one’s own feet. That’s OK until the second storey, and then it’s finished and to get to the top of the over 300 meter construction one must take a lift. This tower, this unique view over the fascinating city and the constructor, Mr Gustav Eiffel, are so exciting that one can fill almost the whole day.

Below, by the exit, we almost trod on the tail of a huge animal. I thought it must be a beaver, but my youngest taught me that beavers have a flat tail and therefore this monster of an animal must be a rat. Such a thing I have never seen in my whole life. Probably the tourists’ rubbish feeds this huge growth.

We travelled on the metro, visited the market, sped through the parks and along the Seine embankment and absorbed the city. We had many chats with locals and other tourists. Sightseeing was struck from our programme. For security reasons and because of the over large crowds the queues were simply too long. Therefore we did not climb up the tower of Notre-Dame, therefore we only walked round the Centre Georges-Pompidou, and Versailles and Sacré-Coeur and enjoyed the atmosphere.

In the evening we listened to the street musicians and my youngest warned me not to dance in the street and I read in his eyes “Parents can be so embarrassing!!“. In one of the hippest restaurants the couple next to us let my youngest taste from their plate so that he could decide what to order. They told him that they knew Tinguely and Nikki de Saint Phalle and discussed art with him.

Only the signs that could be found here and there telling you how to behave during terror attacks made me think. When we departed, the street, which we wanted to take, was blocked off and someone called out that a dead homeless person lay there.

Paris inspired us, touched us, made us reflect and somehow cleansed us. We returned home, our hearts full and our souls pure.

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