Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Usually when I'm travelling for business there is little time to see the places that I visit. That's unless I'm there for a while on some kind of assignment, when I do manage to get out. So despite being in Paris three times in the last few weeks, this is the first time that I've really had a chance to amble around, take in some sights and sit in cafes.
Yes, I've been in Paris on my own time rather than for work, and that makes quite a difference to the perspective.
I do know my way around pretty well and have stayed in plenty of different spots in the past, so there is a familiarity to the geography and the way things connect together. I'll admit that I mentally transpose London's format onto Paris when I think about some of the areas, with Gare du Nord as Liverpool Street, the Champs Elysee as Oxford Street and the Eiffel Tower as the part around Waterloo. The Rive Gauche is the bit by Southwark. Its a weird way to think of the areas, but it works for me and its the only city where I have that kind of arcane geography, useful for calculating walking distances.
Of course, the actual areas I've just described are uniquely Parisienne, and everything from the weather to the police look very different.
But that's another story.