I’m in Paris, updating my Rick Steves Paris guidebook and snapping photos of various observations I’m making along the way.
People come to Paris for many reasons. You’ll see many couples from Asia dressed up as if getting married at the iconic viewpoints. This couple from Singapore (in beautiful wedding dress and suit) explained to me that they plan to get married in six months and were just here with a photographer to get their wedding shots taken.
On this visit to Paris I’ve been particularly tuned in to the fun people enjoying their first trip out of the USA are having in France. I keep running into one delightful woman — a Roman Catholic sister from Indiana — who is wonderstruck by how amazing Paris is. Unsophisticated as she may be, she is doing everything right — picking up local words, talking to every local she can, and enjoying some of the greatest artistic and cultural experiences the world has to offer. It’s the childlike joy, wonder, and wide-eyed enthusiasm of travelers like her that make my work particularly rewarding.
With a man like Donald Trump in the White House it’s hard to avoid thinking about him while traveling. Of course, France just rejected their Trumpish candidate and elected Emmanuel Macron instead. The contrasts are thought-provoking: When he’s not at the White House, our leader lives in several floors of a Manhattan skyscraper he owns — and we spend millions of dollars a month for its security. Until the election, Macron lived in this simple apartment (on Rue Cler) and his security was much less expensive. A friend of mine, Slim — the receptionist at my favorite hotel on Rue Cler — lived on the floor above him.
Some people dress up before going to museums. Their primarily mission: to take selfies of themselves in front of art they forget to look at.
Visiting the Mesopotamian section of the Louvre, it occurred to me that many Western travelers head directly to the Western art (the ancient Greek and Renaissance masters) wing while many Middle Eastern travelers seem to focus on the great art from their corner of the world. When visiting great museums like the Louvre, consider being less ethnocentric in your sightseeing. If you are Western, venture into the less Western exhibit halls.
This is Day 50 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences across Europe. Still to come: Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.