Advantages of Spending a Night with THE Paris Hilton

June 27, 2007

A night with her will not be breaking any moral code.

Most people are wearing underwear – at least that you can tell if you need to.

No one has a dog on a short leash.

This one does not pretend to be something she is not.

You don’t need permission from her mother to stay here.

Your own mother does not care if you stay here.

The foyer is not crowded with press thinking they are covering a real story.

If you have sex here it won’t be taped (other than by security).

If taped, your sex activity won’t find its way onto the Internet.

You can have a drink here without being picked up for DUI.

Your trash won’t find its way onto eBay – unless you want it to.

You can have a conversation that does not include the word “like”.

You can use the hotel car park.

The morning after will be a cultural experience – take short walk to the Eiffel.

The collective IQ in this place will exceed 75.

There is a (Gideons) Bible in the top drawer. That is, there actually IS something in the top drawer.

After a night here a doctors visit is probably not required.

The real thing is at 18 Avenue de Suffren, Paris, France 75015
Tel: 33-1-44385600 Fax: 33-1-44385610

Sneaking a Kiss in Paris

June 22, 2007

Having dropped the pack in the (tiny) room (described a little more here) and negotiated my way down a set of winding stairs wide enough for one set of shoulders at a time – and even each of those was pressed against the flowered wallpaper on each side – I stepped out into a classic Parisian scene. It was a warm spring evening and the lowering sun was still in the sky, highlighting the new foliage and adding a warm yellow to the stonework and concrete. The smell of coffee, the sound of conversations of those on the side walk taking their leisure and the wide boulevards nicely reinforced just where I was. I legged it for about 17 kilometres that evening and covered a lot of Paris, from checking out the Notre Dame, walking a few kilometers along the Champ Elysees, wandering the art along the Seine and sadly being forced to avoid the queue at the Eiffel which stretched forever, and seemed to be made up mainly of rowdy American teenage school students. That deterrence proved a boon as I discovered a number of parks and gardens in which I was able to slow down – I was running out of steam and drifting in the general direction of the hotel. In so doing I stumbled over this statue of Joffre with the reclining couple having a quiet pash on its base. I grinned to myself and snapped the picture. Marshal of France. Hero even, for stopping the German armies in 1914. Symbol of all things French and martial, nicely counterpointed by symbols of indolent love, careless encounters, and Paris in the spring. It was for me a nice vignette of all the clichés, and realities of Paris and France.

Cliches about Paris Are True

March 31, 2007

I arrived from Switzerland in Paris in the late afternoon. No one wanted to speak English. I wandered around the station with no maps and no instructions. I asked at a counter and a man through the wire mesh simply shrugged his shoulders. Very conscious that I looked out of place and lost – not a good thing necessarily in a station such as this. So kept moving. Asking, looking, asking some more. To no avail and lots of shoulder shrugging. Eventually stood in the middle of the platforms and studied the flow of pedestrians to see how to get to the Metro. The pulsing throng suggested a particular direction so I headed into the flow of commuters and found some stairs down which I descended. Wandered a maze of tunnels and platforms. Finally found man behind a wire screen who gave me a map in French. On and off trains. Connecting names to the map. Exploring and familiarising by trial and error. Eventually resurfaced into a warm Paris spring afternoon, amid street side tables and the smell of coffee, about fifty metres from my hotel. That was a small affair, full of Americans. So small the door to the room was constructed like a stable door, the top half opening over the bed. Throw your suitcase through that opening and onto the bed. Slide through the bottom half which is butting up to the bed and preventing any overweight guests from entering the room! Access to the room is via a narrow winding stair, so narrow it is only good for one person. Shout up or down the stair well before moving between floors to ensure the route is clear. The Americans think it is hilarious. I guess they are told to tone it down so often the licence to shout must be a relief. That evening I walk 17 kilometers taking in as much of the town as possible. The benefit of all the experimentation in the Metro came the next day when I was able to give instructions to an elderly American couple who had no French and were completely lost. They were impressed by this Australian who knew his way around after only 18 hours. Little did they know the intensity of the orientation exercise but were grateful to be delivered to their stop. In my wanderings that afternoon across cafe streets and through parks with kissing lovers, from crowds under “the tower” to railway porters and ticketeers who refused to engage in conversation it was pretty obvious that in this initial sampling of this city I found that every cliche about Paris to be true. I love it.

May 1995