Paris Trip Notes – Day 3

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Today is Wednesday October 4th, 2017.   Almost every minute spent in the office yesterday – but really great to be here.  After dinner, a colleague, an Account Executive named Alexandre invited me to dine with his wife and daughter at their home near La Defense.

Alexandre has a daughter, about 2 years old who is absolutely adorable.    Alex’s wife is from Italy and she prepared a fantastic meal including a great salad, and pasta carbonara.   Afterwards, we enjoyed some of France’s amazing fromage (cheese).  I feel a bit bad… perhaps rude – I have so much preparation for meetings tomorrow that I needed to leave right after eating.

Today, we’ll have a very important meeting with a customer here in La Defense so I’ve been spending a majority of my time prepping for that… not much Paris tourism today.

Here’s a list of things that jumped out at me as I walked the streets, met and engaged with the people of France.

  1. Smokers – A lot of people smoke cigarettes.  There’s not the same anti-smoking sentiment that exists in the states.  For example, the restaurant I ate at yesterday had ash trays on the tables.  Of the 5 or so tables on the terrace (an enclosed area – but outside of the main restaurant) 3 were occupied by people smoking cigarettes.
  2. Driving – There are WAY more super tiny cars… a lot of taxi’s.  Uber works here, btw – but Lyft, not so much.  Drivers are aggressive – but not combative.  For example, on my way to the office we drive down Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle.  There are side streams to the street and it’s possible to go straight down the center lanes – or switch to the side feeder streams of the road.  Many of the drivers switch back and forth trying to get where they’re going faster… nothing new there – right?  But in the states, or, at least in NY, NJ, PA – you’d invariably run into an aggressive, road-raging driver that wants to punch you in the face.  Here, although everyone is moving at high rates of speed and cutting in/out – there didn’t appear to be any rage.  About 50% of the people on the road ride sleek scooters or motorcycles.  They ride them in and out of traffic… They’re allowed to weave and to go between cars here – just as in California.  I don’t think my Heritage Softail Custom would much fit in here what with the loud exhaust and the fat/wide body.
  3. Bread Aroma – During what appears to be random times of day, the streets are filled with the heavenly scent of bread baking… reminds me of home, Sarcones.  I tasted my first baguettes last night – really délicieux.
  4. Stylish – A majority of the people I see (and I realize this could be because of the area of France I am in) dress really well.  Men keep their hair cut well, neatly scruffed beards.  Short / tight-ish suit pants are a major thing on guys.  Slender sport coats.
  5. Slender – It would appear that there are fewer really overweight people than in the states.
  6. Tiny Cafe – The coffee here is REALLY good but there’s not enough of it.  When I do get it, it’s in tiny cups.  And people drink it slowly… relaxed.  And when I try to go to the street to buy more – the shops are closed – or I need to sit down at a cafe to get some.  GIVE ME A COFFEE SHOP WITH TO-GO COFFEE, s’il vous plait!
  7. Tiny Food – Meals are smaller… could this be related to observation #6?
  8. Direct – People are direct… to the point… but most I’ve met are friendly – this, btw, breaks a stereotype I’ve heard before that most French people are rude.  Not so, in my limited experience.
  9. Subway Doors – The subways have doors that guard access to the tracks when the train is not present.  This, depressingly I was told is to prevent people from leaping in front of the trains.You can’t really see the doors in this shot – but they slide open when the train arrives.The subways have doors that guard access to the tracks when the train is not present.  This, depressingly I was told is to prevent people from leaping in front of the trains.
  10. dʒigabytes The word for GB… Gigabytes in french is pronounced with a soft G… as in Regime, or genre  – Gigabytes.  The sound is represented or denoted /dʒ/ when writing phonetically.

Word(s) of the day:

FrenchEnglishAudio
 Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? Will you help me, please?
 Où sont les toilettes? Where is the bathroom?

Franco-Fact:

Got a crush on that hot person that just passed away?   In France you can marry a dead person – under French law, in exceptional cases you can marry posthumously, as long as you can also prove that the deceased had the intention of marrying while alive and you receive permission from the French president.  The most recent approved case was in 2017, when the partner of a gay policeman gunned down on Paris’s Champs-Elysees by a jihadist was granted permission to marry his partner posthumously.

Photo of the Day

Paris Trip Notes – Day minus 1

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Today, is September 30th, 2017.  T-minus 16 Hours and counting until I fly to Paris, France.  Not much planning or packing left to do.  I feel fortunate to be able to make the trip.  I’ll be visiting colleagues from MongoDB’s Paris Office and will be lending a hand with some customer meetings for the week.

I thought it might be interesting to share details of the trip with my friends and family through this blog… so here’s the plan:

Each day – I’ll be in France for 5 days, I’ll create a blog post and an accompanying video.  Each post will have some vocabulary words I’m trying to learn, some facts I’m trying to learn about France, a photo or two and a bit about the plan for the day and what I’ve experienced.

Like what you see?  Let me know in the comments – or on social media.  Want to know something about Paris, France – or want me to take a photo… let me know!

Word(s) of the day:

FrenchEnglishNotes
Excusez-moi, où est ___? Excuse me, where is ___? Definitely will have a need to find my way around… I’m thinking this one will pay off quickly.
Où se trouvent les toilettes?Where is the bathroom?And what would be more important that finding a restroom?

Franco-fact:

France is the world’s most popular tourist destination – some 83.7 million visitors arrived in France, according to the World Tourism Organization report published in 2014, making it the world’s most-visited country.

Photo of the Day

Ok – not a photo I took – but it’s a google street view of the MongoDB office in Paris.  See you in about 24 hours.