Let me start by getting one thing out of the way.  That old adage about how Paris would be wonderful if it weren’t for all the French?  Bullfuckingshit.  Paris blows because it’s filled with Americans.  Everywhere you go, it’s Yanks all over the place.  What the fuck, I thought we were in some massive sinkhole of economic diarrhea – yet, Paris, one of the most expensive cities in the motherfucking universe, is filled to be brim with holidaying Yanks.  Fucking blows my mind.  Granted, I was there to do the same, so I’m not gonna begrudge someone else’s holidaying shenanigans, but goddamn there are a lot of Yanks in Paris.

Anyway, two weeks in Paris with a slight detour to pre-Olympic-bullshit London yielded some entirely pointless observations:

French countryside.  For all talk about the visual orgasm that is the French countryside, it’s remarkably dull.  You might as well be driving through the middle of New Jersey.

British graffiti sucks.  Banksy notwithstanding (which is technically is street art, not the sort of graffiti I’m talking about).  On the left is what was scrawled on the back of a loo in an average pub right off Greek Street in London’s Soho.  Compare that to the right, taken from the bathroom at Max Fish in New York’s Lower East Side.

When you make the mistake of going to see the Mona fucking Lisa, you usually have the misfortune of getting crammed with about 150 other boneheaded tourists all clamoring to see the same stupid painting.  Problem is, every single of one of them will be a complete imbecile.  Not only are they pushing and shoving, you get dipshits like this trying to take a picture of the painting from about 30 feet away.  Using an iPad.  Took every ounce of self-restraint not to swat that iPad out of his hands and send it hurtling towards the Mona Lisa itself to test out the painting’s perspex shielding.

 

This fucking guy at Versailles.

Café du Flore, Café Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp – apparently this view affords you a tiny lukewarm cup of espresso that’ll set you back 10 euros.  We hit all three landmark restaurants in one sweep one lazy Tuesday afternoon.  Sure, they were lovely and boasted all sorts of literary history, but holy shit do they know how to work the whole tourist trap thing.  In fact, all the tourist traps are finetuned to perfection.  We hit a whole bunch of them – Au Pied du Cochon, Bofinger, Chartier, the three above.  You walk in and not a single Parisian is to be seen in any of these places.  Yet, somehow they make you feel OK sitting down and having an unspectacular yet unoffensive meal.  You know full well that you’re in a tourist trap, for some fucked up reason, you’re OK with it.  Which is heaps different from any given tourist trap in New York.  I think.  I haven’t been to New York tourist traps in a long while, so I’m just projecting here.

Andouillette.  Speaking of restaurants, my typically brave demeanor when it comes to food finally betrayed me.  On my final night in Paris, having already tried so many typical French foods, opted for one of the few remaining things I had yet to try: andouillette.   Sounds like an andouille, right?  And I fucking love andouille.  I had to try it.  Even if the description is nothing like andouille – andouillette is a sausage that’s constructed of chopped up tripe stuffed into an intestine.  Not just a natural gut casing, but the whole fucking intestine.  Filled with chopped up tripe.  How bad could it be?  Holy shit, never ask that question when it comes to andouillette.  Because the andouillette will punch you in the mouth with a definitive and declarative answer.  It tastes like you’ve just eaten the toilet from Trainspotting.  And you can’t swallow it because it’s all hard and crunchy and it tastes like shit and you start to gag and the combination of gag and a mouthful of shit causes you to asphyxiate, and your only solution is to wash it down as quickly as possible by guzzling wine right out of the bottle which causes you to instantly become the ape-like retarded tourist in the restaurant.  Everything is horrible and you want to die.  After coming to, I politely sent the plate of Satan’s pinched loaf back and ordered a steak tartar instead.  You have no idea how delicious a raw hamburger is after you’ve tried andouillette.

The subway music is much more interesting.  That’s not to say that any halfwit walking around with an accordion equals something good.  In New York, half these schmucks on the subway create some indiscernible racket and demand loose change from you.  Parisian minstrels, on the other hand, often sound like they might actually be good at weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Deodorant.  Europe is gonna be so awesome when they discover deodorant.