In Europe, they use a 1-Euro coin, not paper.
But more notably, they use a 2-Euro coin. At first, it seems nutty, right? What a weird, random denomination!!! Two months later, I’m all about the-2-euro-coin-is-genius-and-why-don’t-we-have-a-2-dollar-coin?
About the coin demand on the street…
The “homeless” population of France – and I use the quotes because I’m pretty sure they’re an organized non-labor force – apparently had a meeting on “Imaginative Income Augmentation”. And in this meeting, I imagine there was a presentation with color graphics that showed Beggar Bob had a 47% increase in alms since bringing his pet rabbit to non-work. Thus, every gypsy beggar in France has a pet. Rabbits, cats, dogs, weaning puppies. On the corner I most frequented on the Pont Neuf, grandma and her dog took the day shift. Mom, dad and three small kids took the night shift. Same dog.
3. Utter “nyet” because ain’t nobody speaking Russian in France. This option is marvelous with a pairing of cold, dead eyes.
About that language barrier….
A little French goes a long way. Couple it with high-quality mime-like hand gestures and a willingness to look insane and you’ll find most everyone willing to help and use their own English (or Spanish) skills to communicate with you.
In these convos, speaking English with a French accent does not help. I know because I tried. I don’t know why I tried. Perhaps to save you the embarrassment?
Anyway, you’re welcome.
Speaking SPANISH with a French accent DOES help. So I hope you remember your 10th grade Español where your “Spanish name” was “Maria” or “Pedro”.
Anyway, de nada.
About Your Lunch Plans & 17 Scheduled Activities Immediately Afterwards….
French service is leisurely. So if you’re absolutely pressed for time, buy your food “pour emporter” and enjoy that meal in a beautiful park or people-watching along the Seine or power-walking to the Louvre. Otherwise, just give in. Food is NOT fuel here. It is a primary reason for human existence and as such must be savored, time restrictions be damned.
Funny story…on my next-to-last day in Paris, I planned to run two important errands after dinner.
Then dinner was 4 hours and five songs long.
C’est la vie.
Fact: They will mock you for requesting your leftovers to go.
Fact: They actually walk around snacking on an entire loaf of French bread. Only here it’s just called “bread”.
Yes, they DO love Edith Piaf here, so if you can sing her songs, the wine may be on the house.
Speaking of musique, every man, woman and child in France knows the lyrics to the 300-year old opera Carmen like it was Beyonce’s latest album. I’m not kidding even a little bit.
About Being A Stranger in a Strange Land…
Speaking in not-your-native-language really makes you appreciate what new Americans must go through. The inability to fully, vividly, elegantly express yourself and essentially always sound like a 4-year old can be…. what’s the word that’s the opposite of Supercalafragilisticexpialidocious? It’s that word. In French.
Finally, if I may offer any travel tip that could enhance your own Chic Frenchy French Adventure…give yourself at least one day to just walk. Walk out the door of your hotel, pick a direction, and take only the streets that call to you. It’ll probably be the best day. Fact.
I leave you with good wishes for great travels and an incriminating photo of a chocolate-laden carb having a relationship with an avowed anti-carber. Because Paris will make you break rules. That’s how she is.