I still am not crazy about eating in nice French restaurants. My suggestions or complaints go unheard, so I will just have to make a point in Trip Advisor or Yelp. Don’t you think if a patron politely says the duck is too tough, they would try to fix the dish or replace it? They act like the duck is supposed to be tough, so tough luck on you!! And there is just too much pretense in most of these places. Why not just try to be friendly? Go to the more casual places!
As always, hotels in great neighborhood locations are older, with small rooms, and small bathrooms. Walls are thin, and floors are creaky. Some might call it charm, I just call it old (and sometimes smelly) and in need of some serious upgrades. I have been in Third World countries with better two and three star hotels than the four and fives I stayed on this and past trips.
But I must say the hotel staffs, particularly the younger staff, are most helpful and friendly. And this is pretty much true around the world. Even in places like St. Petersburg, Russia, the Serengeti, Cambodia, Rio, and Montreal, young people are curious to meet with and talk to Americans. And yes, I did get the question, “what are you from?” on several occasions. And yes, I did explain that I am an American, even though I may not “look” like an American to them!! Really, what does an American look like?
I flew Business First class both directions on United, with mixed results. The twelve hour flight over was very mediocre, but the trip back was much superior. Why? The helpfulness and friendliness of the flight attendants, of course. It helps that they have improved the service, though not the food. The best parts of the meals were the cheese and fruit plate after dinner, and the ice cream sundaes shortly thereafter. The lie-flat seats in a semi-circular cube are also quite nice for rest and privacy. The movie and music choices really need some work.
I noticed more Asians living in France on this trip, ex-pats if you will. Several of the champagne cave tours in Reims and Epernay were conducted by young women from Japan and China. Some are married to French men, others were single, seeking out a career in the French wine business. The problem as you might imagine, is having someone with a severe accent trying to speak French or English using wine terminology!!!
The number of people who still smoke is outrageous, young, old, and in the middle. Did they not get the memo from the U.S. Surgeon General? Of course, the sauce laden French diet is not the healthiest, and the only people out exercising are the youngsters. Nobody over the age of, let’s say forty, was out trying to ride a bike or jog.