Paris is fantastic.Yesterday, I spent a wonderful day with my friend Christina – we walked through the Saint Germain neighborhood and saw the haunts of French philosophers such as Sartre, De Beauvoir and Merleau Ponty. We also found a french language philosophy bookshop by the Sorbonne which is hosting a 2 day conference on Heidegger this weekend (so sad I can’t go!), and got lost in the hallways of the university of Paris. We ended the day with dinner on a terrace in Montreuil at a restaurant I can recommend called Le Terrace. I especially suggest the creme brulee.
However, the rest of the night was quite scary. If someone tells you they live in Paris, but in fact you have to take the RER to get into town from where they live, beware. The RER goes very far from Paris (so it’s a bit like saying you live in Vancouver when you live in Surrey or Mission), and even if you leave Paris at 10pm the trains will be delayed and non-existant, and you may not arrive to your destination until 1:30 am. Also, don’t expect to find any help in small French villages to which the RER travels, and don’t expect they will look much like the google maps you tried to memorize.
Today I’m back in Paris, at The Lucky Backpackers hostel. It’s a bit strange, you need to find this cafe and then phone a number – but it isn’t a scam. In fact it’s a fantastic apartment style hostel. Although it isn’t cheap (30 euro/night), it is competitive for the area, and the apartments are well furnished and have kitchens. And you might find yourself staying with a lovely opera singer from California who’s spent the last 5 months studying in Spain.
Tomorrow morning I have to wake up very early to catch a 10am flight to Vienna, and then an 8 hour layover, then arriving in Tel Aviv, then off to Jerusalem!