Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Paris Time (#18)

There's a very strange phenomenon that occurs here in Paris - perhaps other spots as well, but I haven't visited them.
It's call the Paris Time phenomenon. Time has a different meaning in Paris than in other places. In fact, it is set back two hours behind any other place.
It's almost midnight, and yet the streets of Paris are teeming with people. The cafes are spilling out on to the boulevard. Tonight, especially, when Spain has just won the World Cup, hordes of teenagers are roaming through the streets with Yellow and Orange flags on their backs, screaming out in delirious triumph.
Even if there had been no Cup, the streets would have been packed. Nightlife begins in Paris after 8:30 or 9 PM. Dinner reservations are rarely made before 8:30, and couples meet for a stroll well after 9.
The day begins later too. Stores do not open until 10 or 11 AM, and then they close from 2:00-4:00 PM because the French must eat their "pain" (bread) and cheese.
Every night in Paris for us has ended at midnight or 1 AM, but it felt like 11. And it's not because we're tourists.
We just returned from the Arch de Triomphe and walked past Victor Hugo Plaza. Haagen Daaz is packed with ice cream lovers, some of whom I met on my explorations here. So I know they're just regular folks.
It's a Paris phenomenon that might confuse folks when they get here, but perhaps if everyone changes his watch, putting in back two hours in time, they'll feel more comfortable.
Hmm, it's about midnight in Paris. It feels like 10. That's just about right.
Bon soir.

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