Six times in Paris-What’s old, what’s new?

Something purple, something new, Michael Leavy tried and loved Moutarde Violette, one of the many varieties of French mustard.

The 49 year-old Silicon Valley software engineer was in Paris to visit family, his sixth venture to the city of light.
“Everything is still to love; the architecture, museums, cafes, the people, I never tire of it. I could walk around this city all day, everyday and not get bored.” Michael did notice some changes, maybe bad, maybe good and encouraging. “Perhaps there are more closed storefronts than in the past and a lot more Starbucks than there used to be; I can remember only one Starbucks in Paris; There are a lot more office buildings in the La Defense area. There seems to be a lot of construction going on right now.” And yes, less hot smokey air. “In  restaurants people don’t smoke, they go outside to smoke. I remarked about that the other day to my friends.”

Popular social networks made it easy for Michael to meet-up with friends.
“I met Facebook friends in Paris,  I met a lot of people; more than before. People I knew were in Paris at the same time. With the advent of Facebook you can meet up with people in the real world.”

“I helped prepare a private dinner party for a group in Paris. It was a more of a challenge to get everything arranged and get everyone seated in a small area.” A guest at that party invited the bilingual Michael to speak at her English class for French engineering students and Michael said yes. At another gathering, he also met a couple from Guadelupe.  “I enjoyed speaking French to Max and talking to them about some of the things they like in the French West Indies; Mangos, Beaches, the sunshine.”

His recomendations to first timers- walk instead of taking the Metro- you see so much more of the city.”I recommend that you see some of the smaller museums; the Rodin, the Picasso, soon to open in 2013. I recommend that you walk around the Marais. It has those little cobblestone streets, no cars, good for people-watching.

Why six times in Paris ? “I guess I like it, I never gt tired of seeing Paris-the most photogenic city in the world. Every corner you turn around there is somehing intersting, the store windows, buildings, the people. There is a lot of visual interest in Paris.”

Sometimes the food can be a little rich to my more subdued American diet. The first couple of days I think it was  overwhelming me- I balanced it out with salads, got used to it.”

The thing that tasted the best- his Dad’s homemade turkey.

Other challenges- “I had found I had forgotten a lot of French and commuication was a challenge. The French are vey acomodating if they see you making an effort and being friendly. They will start speaking in English even if you want to speak French.”

Will you always have Paris? “Yes much like Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca. It is comforting knowing that Paris is here, somewhat timeless, that you can come here and experince it- it has this quality of timelessness.”

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