Paris: No Wonder The French Can’t Stand Us

Our trip to Paris was off to a bad start before we left U.S. soil.  We found a 4 star hotel in the hip Latin Quarter/St. Germain area of the city on for only $100 per night.  Sound too good to be true?  It was.  Turns out, the hotel was just on the outskirts of the Latin Quarter, somewhere around the 13th Arrondissement, which has its nice parts but to some is considered the ghetto.  We pleading with Hotwire to refund our money but it was no use, they would not give us our money back.

I let my in-laws know about my predicament and they immediety booked us a room at the luxurious Jolly Lotti Hotel.

Upon our arrival, we received a few frantic phone calls from family members about riots that were breaking out all over Paris.  ”what riots?” we asked.  As soon as we turned on the television, we learned there were major rioting in the streets of the 13th Arrondissement, right where we would have been staying.

The hotel was beautiful, but the concierge looked like he wanted to kill us every time we asked him for advice.  Within 24 hours, we had won him over and his face lighted up each time he saw us.  ”Hi Girls” he would yell across the lobby.  

There’s just no place like Paris, its got to be the most visually stunning city in the world.  It was our second time there so we skipped the Louvre and the top of the Eiffel Tower this time around, but visited other classic sites such as the Musee D’Orsay, Notre-Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees.  The best thing to do in Paris is simply sit back and people watch. The St. Germain area is full of brassieres.  We loved Cafe de Flore, where we each had a croque madame and washed it down with a bottle of white wine.

We wanted to experience Paris nightlife, so we went to the club Manray, which is owned by Johnny Depp. Why we went to a club owned by an American while in Paris, I do not know.  We had a “late” dinner there and decided to stay until the happening crowd arrived.  The happening people in Paris do not go out until at least 1:00 a.m.  We just aren’t that happening.

On day two of our trip, Mihae was looking through the pictures on her camera and accidently erased every photo from the trip. We spent the second day going back to the same places we had been the previous day, recreating every single picture.  Yes, we are that dorky, see the below “Charlie’s Angel” pose for proof. 

On the last night, we asked our friend the concierge to recommend a real authentic french bistro.  No tourists, no English translations on the menu, the real deal.  I was sick of asking “excusez-moi, ou sont les toilettes?” only to have the person respond, “the restroom is down the hall to your left”.

We got what we asked for.  It was a 40 minute cab ride far from the heart of the city, in a residential neighborhood.  I have no idea what it was called, but it was upstairs in a smoke filled room.  All eyes were on us when we entered the room, as it was clear that we did not belong there.

Our server did not speak a word of English and just as requested, there was no English on the menu.  Maybe this was not such a good idea.  I was under pressure since I had taken French class from the 7th to 12th grade.  Mihae and Charity wanted steak. No problem, le bifteck, that’s easy enough.  I decided on some fish, so I just choose any old thing from the “le poisson” category, thinking, “I’m sure they are all good.”

The steak arrived smelling just wonderful.  And then came my surprise poisson.  Three whole sticky, sardines staring back at me to be exact.  My stomache churned just looking at them.

Mihae saw my face and then said quite possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me: “here, take my steak, I’ll eat it.”  

Turns out she couldn’t.  

We shared the steak while the waiter looked at us in disgust as he removed the foul smelling dish.

On the cab ride home, the song “Africa” came on the radio.  We asked the cab driver to turn it up and sang along, I’m surpised we didn’t get kicked out of the cab.  I think it was right then I decided I wanted to go to Africa.  I sure hope they like us better than the French do.


  • Edie Hafdahl said:

    Hi Em and friends,

    What do you mean you are just not happening? Quite the contrary. This blog and photos are quite entertaining and happening. I laughed so hard when you were asking where the restrooms were, in French and the response you got back, in English. It reminded me of the time when I was in Japan and I asked, “Sumi ma sen, toilette doko desu ka?” and the response was, “Straight ahead and to the right.”

    I look forward to reading more about your adventures. Also, try the sardines, be adventurous! I’m sure they would be nice sandwiched in one of those nice, flaky croissants.

    Malama pono,



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