The coffee machine at the place where we get breakfast is dead. No coffee for us. So after eating, we walked over to Starbucks. Depending on which Parisian Starbucks you're in, there may or may not be half and half used. This store does not, they ask you how much hot milk you want added, and mark it on your cup.
This is just outside the window where we were sitting, and is the scene of a crime. A young man was sitting outside using his laptop with his back pack on the chair to his left. A motor scooter drove up on to the sidewalk, looking like it would park next to the other two scooters. The passenger got off, stood next to the bike and talked to the driver for about thirty seconds. Then he whirled around, grabbed the young man's backpack and they drove away. He gave chase, but fell when he grabbed at them in the intersection. He got up and kept running. We went out and got his laptop before it, too, was stolen. We waited for about thirty minutes for him to come back but he did not return. We gave the laptop to the baristas. Hopefully it will make its way back to him.
A British woman sitting next to us said that this type of crime happens
frequently. A scooter came up to her and the passenger grabbed her
backpack. She said anytime she hears a scooter behind her she puts a death grip on her bag. Pick pockets still ply their trade. College age kids will
try to get you to sign a petition, while you're distracted they'll take
belongings. One technique we have seen at the Place de la Concorde is a woman
who'll pretend to pick up a gold ring and say she found it and wants you
to have it. So, we're now in the mode of distrust of our fellow humans. If someone is trying to distract you, it's probably bad.
Scooters are everywhere.
A new way to separate the tourists from their dollars is to let them drive a super car for 120 euro. I'm not sure how far or how long you get to drive the car. In Paris traffic it probably won't be long or far. That's a Lamborghini.
We walked on up to the Champs Elysee. It looked better when we were here in 2005. It's become over run with people. This is on a work day in April, one can only imagine how crowded it will be in the summer.
This is the McDonald's where we would have breakfast in 2002. It was really good, and cost much less than the hotel breakfast.
I was trying for a shot of the incredible lines inside, as well as the security guys checking bags before they would let you in. However, I was distracted by this guy waving his hand at me.
Does he look annoyed or what?
Eventually we reached the Arc de Triomphe. It was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz. We climbed to the top of it in 2002, watching the traffic in the circle at the base was mesmerizing.
I love watching people. These two are standing on the lane divider on the Champs Elysee taking photos. Cars are whizzing by them in the narrow lanes. Fortunately, they were not killed today.
Sidewalk sweepers. Their technology has been upgraded and now they have giant vacuum cleaners.
There is a fair amount of begging in Paris. Many people have signs up asking for help for their dogs. There are two people on Rue de Rivoli who have dogs that are nursing puppies.
There are many Muslim women as well.
In Paris, people use the sidewalks to help them park. This guy eventually gave it up, no way was that van going to go in the slot where he wanted to put it.
We saw one of these on the way to breakfast this morning. We were staring at it when the owner returned and glared at us. The doors open up, not out. You can park it anywhere. It has three wheels, rear wheel drive, it leans and is fully electric. Top speed is 35mph. Toyota calls it the I-Road and is positioning it for city driving.
We walked far and then we got tired and decided to Metro back. After one stop, the Metro suffered a mechanical. After waiting for awhile we abandoned and decided to walk back. Here is a cool building outside of the Metro stop.
Here we are back at the Place de la Concorde. During the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette and many others were guillotined in the square.
Our rental car in Normandy had an interesting feature. If you're sitting at a stop light, or reading a map, or otherwise not moving with the clutch pedal out, the engine turns off. As soon as you push the clutch pedal in, it starts up. The first couple of times it did that it was very disconcerting. This feature is call Start-Stop Technology, and will be coming to the US in the not too distant future. It's being done to improve over all fuel economy. The cab we took back into Paris from Orly did it as well. I don't know how I feel about this.
It was an interesting day.