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Paris - Spring 2012

So I'm back from a week in Paris. A few thoughts about it, with good and bads.
Bad news first:
- I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of immigrants, while not much more than in London these ones seemed more out of control[1].
- Quite an aggressive city, many people looked like about to burst, particularly some of the above. At times I was really afraid/nervous. I also witnessed for the first time a theft (in the Metro).
- Serious lack of green. Hardly any grass anywhere, even in the parks; the few green patches were fenced or guarded by "Keep off the grass" or similar signs.
- Traffic is crazy and the air is polluted. In some parks and other areas there's a very fine white dust which in combination with wind made walking around quite annoying.
- Lots of beggars and many streets and Metro stations were just _stinking_ of urine - including some higher profiles places; perhaps Paris needs more public toilets.

And some good things:
- The architecture of the buildings, whether new or old, is very nice. I was particularly impressed with the massive style of older royal/imperial buildings like the Louvre.
- The food.. Well, you can tell this nation has a cult for food. Lots of nice and various dishes, tons of cheese, sea food, bread, you name it - the French have it and it's Good. Probably the best in Europe.
- I want proper Boulangeries and Patisseries in London!
- A LOT less FAT people when compared to London, especially women. It's a bit ironic that for a nation with a passion for eating they're in such a good shape.
- Very FEW McDonalds, KFCs and so on. I don't know if I've seen more than 2-3 McDonalds the whole time I was there. That was quite nice.
- I loved their habit of taking a break at noon and go eat & drink in restaurants. This is obviously being done in many cities/countries, but in Paris is done at a very massive and visible scale. It was nice to witness and be part of it.
- Paris is a city with a high density and it's easy to cover good parts of it by foot; otherwise the Metro stations/stops are quite frequent and ticket fares are significantly lower than in London making it an efficient system to go around.
- The old cemeteries are very very nice, quiet, beautiful architecture and big names to visit around.

- To top it off, our hosts were fantastic! The weather, too, around or over 20 degrees the whole time we were there. No clouds!

[1] - Please don't label me a racist or xenophobe, I myself am a immigrant. I do believe all men & women are born equal, it's just that I don't condone certain behaviour that seems to be more frequent in certain circles or communities, that's all.