France delivered beyond expectations. The rich history beams from the beautifully architected buildings, the people are nice and the landscape is so diverse from the Alps to the coast, to the rivers flowing through Lyon and Paris; each pocket of the country has it's own unique appeal.
Most buildings are older than our country. They have very small ambulances, it's hard to imagine a person laying down can even fit in there and the sirens are different than in the U.S. I wonder what kind of study was done to determine the best frequency to let people know to get out of the way...and how does that vary country to country?
We go to the grocery store nearly every day to get what we are going to eat for dinner or lunch. It's what people do. Smaller spaces make for less storage and they eat really fresh. No CostCo or Sam's Club around here.
Hostels aren't at all what I expected. They have all had a hip downstairs lounge/kitchen area and nice enough rooms and bathrooms. I did have a snoring lady under my bunk for two nights in Spain - that was terrible. Some hostels have private rooms and bathrooms, you can share the common area and meet other travelers. You can meet other travelers in hotels too but I've found people in hostels seem to want to talk to you more.
The government pays street performers here! If you have more than X number of "shows" per year, you are paid as an artist. HA! That's like the kids in Jackson Square in New Orleans getting paid from the federal government. Well, I guess we probably do give them welfare, food stamps and free healthcare so it's probably a wash. Living the dream. I do appreciate that in both Jackson Square and here they are putting on pretty good shows and not just asking for money. I guess not everyone that asks for money in a hat is a bum though; it's just different to think of street performers as having a profession. Maybe they are putting in their 10,000 hours.
They fly the French flag here more than some other countries fly their flag, but not as much as America.
I walked on the cobblestone street that the Tour de France comes down by the Arc de Triomphe. It does not seem like a comfortable ride.