Having just returned home from another incredible trip to Paris, I want to share some quick highlights from “Your Survival Guy’s” perspective.
- If you want to experience one of the handful of Palace Hotels in Paris, then you want to go to our favorite home away from home: Le Bristol. If you’ve watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson, then you know the arrival scene at Le Bristol. Recently while the hotel showed the movie in the bar, Wilson happened to be in the lobby and popped in to check it out. Only in Paris.
- If you’re visiting Paris this spring, don’t arrive or leave on a Saturday. Easter weekend marked the 23rd consecutive Saturday of the gilets jaunes or ‘yellow vest’ protests.
- Paris is broken down into neighborhoods called arrondissements that unwind like an escargot shell, beginning on the Right Bank (to the north) of the river Seine in the First Arrondissement, where the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre are located, to the Second, Third, and Fourth. Then, across to the Seine’s Left Bank into the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Arrondissements back once again to the Right Bank for the Eighth where Le Bristol is located at: 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.
- Le Bristol is a block away from the Elysee Palace, France’s Presidential residence, at 55 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, and was on lockdown on Saturday. Talk about a ghost town, and a loss of business. We felt safe on the day of the protests which are mostly peaceful except for the few small factions strictly there for the violence.
- The gilet jaunes movement, from the perspective of the French I spoke with, is met with sympathy and anger. Sympathy with the plight of the common man, but anger at how the movement is hurting business and France’s reputation as a safe place to visit, particularly in Paris.
- The police I spoke with were upset too. They were tired. But they were doing their job. They too seemed to relate more with the protesters or ‘Les Misérables’ than with President Macron.
- The anger this weekend was supercharged from the fire at Notre Dame. When over $1 billion is pledged in days, led by the super wealthy, there’s no wonder the gilet jaunes protesters are aghast. They wonder how so much money can be raised so quickly, when they have trouble putting food on their tables. They are the forgotten men and women of France, and will not go down without a fight.
- If you understand the Trump movement in America, the gilet jaunes movement is many degrees beyond, and is straight out of the pages of Victor Hugo. These stories do not end well.
- And yet I would recommend that you visit Paris. You just have to know the lay of the land, and where to be, and when to be there.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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