So here I am at my final destination. Paris is probably the most well-planned city that I have ever seen, and it is as beautiful as people say it is. The people here are surprising incredibly friendly as well. They say that if you at least a little bit of french, they will be much more receptive, and most do know how to speak english, at least a little anyways. So I am surviving.
I am staying at a hostel in the lower part of the Montmartre district at the bottom of the stairs that goes up to the Sacre-Coeur cathedral. It is quite a beauty. I wandered around there Sunday night (despite the rain), and then yesterday I climbed up the Eiffel Tower, and also wandered over to the Arc De Triomphe and down the Champs D'Elysees to some other sights. This morning, I went to the Catacombs (quite eerie down there!), and I'll wander over to the Notre-Dame Cathedral a bit later. And it is over to Versailles tomorrow and the Louvre on Thursday, with an extra day to kill before I finally come home Saturday morning!
Well, the big news in France the last couple of days has been the kidnapping of the two French reporters in Iraq. The reason for the kidnapping is the ban on religious symbols at schools in France, most notably the headscarves, and as much as I totally disagree with the law (see a post from a few months back), the French government is not giving into the terrorists, unlike the even wimpier Spanish and Filipino governments. It is also quite ironic I think that France, having stayed out of the Iraq war, believed that they would be insulated from the terrorists... guess what, it didn't happen. And for Canadians who are still complacent about terrorism, and believe that we are not a target, get out of your dreamworld. They have certainly woken up yesterday and today here in France on all the local newscasts and newspapersm about the threat of the terrorists against them.
It is a bit strange walking around the Eiffel Tower and seeing lots of army men and women serving as security carrying around huge machine guns.