Friday, September 04, 2009

I could make the title sound Victorian, but...

...seems like it already is.

I'm back from Paris, and I've got a few points to clarify:

Wi-fi connections are not as slow as previously said
I had the leisure of using a friend's laptop (and her wi-fi, well done) whilst in Paris and noted that the internet speed is pretty good. Not as bad as what I had in the hotel the previous evening, anyway. After various excursions, I went back to my hotel room (and to that thing of a wi-fi) to find that it was working notably faster. Which leads me to the conclusion that I could blame the previous day's wi-fi slow-ness on eventual conditions, not on general service terms. Now I am glad to profess that citoyens de la République has good and speedy access to that cloudy thing we call the Internet.

Monop' is a lifesaver, money-saver, stomach-saver
As one may have noted on my Facebook status update: meals at Monop' are mundane-inducing, and they score mediocre on the gastronomic scale and cheap. However, the drinks selection is better. Recommended tipple is the noix de coco drinking yogurt, with actual bits of coconut inside (€1.79). Favourite haunt includes the outlet open across the Pompidou Centre piazza. Not quite Pret-a-Manger... but with a microwave, free cutlery and chairs, it wins hands-down from Tesco Metro.

Vive la Centre Pompidou
Gallery, bookstore, eatery and a cavernous three-level public library rolled into one. There is nothing as jaw-dropping as walking into a library and being able to copy (or take pictures) from books you fancy. Or the sight of video terminals and dedicated music/audio document rooms. Books in other languages (notably English and German) can also be found. You can't check books out of the library, but then there is no registration/membership compulsory to use them. And it's open until 10PM. When I'm in Paris, most nights you'll find me here after the shops are closed.

The museums are camera-friendly
As long as you can work within the limitation of sans flâge (without flash), anything is available to you for the snapping. A friend of mine complained that the museums went from one stage of banning all photography to allowing photography as long as flash lighting is not used. Sometimes photography is not allowed on parts of a museum's collection. I found out that ambient lighting is a good indication of whether photography is allowed or not, with low-lights denoting that your camera is probably most unwelcome for that particular display.

But when I want a picture, I will get it taken anyway. (Mwahahaha.)

The Métro
The lines are laid out differently: one tube containing two tracks with platforms on both sides, as opposed to two tubes joined by a central 'island' of two platforms (the case with most London Underground tube lines). There are a lot more stations that are decorated, Cité and Arts et Métier being the two I visited.

Strange opening times
Some places are open Tuesday to Sunday, some are open Monday to Friday, some are open Tuesday to Friday and Sunday (!) It gets confusing at best. At least I'm glad to find out the flea markets are open on the weekends - that is, Saturdays and Sundays.

Helpful post offices
A cold sweat broke out when I realised that it was already 6PM on a Friday, the time when post offices would spectacularly close for two days and leave tourists scrambling around town trying to find stamps to send their little postcards back home. La Poste offices in central Paris beg to differ, opening late until 8PM on weekdays and on Saturday mornings. Lovely!

My current addiction
...are these dancing rabbits, Nabaz'tag. (Or more like hordes of them, Nabaz'mob.)

They've been around for some time, as I've seen them a few years ago on BLTD (back then I didn't know where to get them). There are rumours the manufacturing company is going under, and fans of the rabbit have launched their own save the Nabaztag campaign. Also, if you happen to be in Paris this autumn, visit the orchestra with a hundred of them bleeping, bleating and swishing their ears in a choreographed manner. As for myself, I'm eyeing up a Rabbit.

I guess that's pretty much all that I have to say... have a lovely day!

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