Justine Shapiro arrives in Paris with three intentions in mind. She wants to attend a cookery class, climb the Eiffel Tower, and visit a Parisian district that is home to some of Paris’ many African communities.
First of all though, she has a word of warning about the Parisian taxi drivers, some of who may take it upon themselves to give unwitting tourists costly tours of the city as they take them to their hotels.
Justine’s first night in Paris is spent with an old American friend, now resident in Paris. He takes her to a traditional café, where they enjoy copious amounts of traditional French fare and a few glasses of VIN rouge before they join the other customers in their songs that go on till the early hours of the morning.
The following day Justine attends a cookery class at the Ecole Cordon Bleu. Here cooks from all over the world can learn a little about French Haute Cuisine. That evening she partakes in an event that reflects a different side of Paris: she joins over 3,000 roller-bladders and their police escorts in their weekly night-time skate through and around the city centre.
The architecture of Paris provides some fabulous views, and after her trip to the Arc de Triomphe in the morning, Justine spends the afternoon visiting and climbing some of the more contemporary buildings that Paris is renowned for, such as La Grande Arche de la Defence, L’Opera Bastille, and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. She also rides the number 73 bus, which offers some of the best views of Paris for a fraction of the prices charged by official sightseeing buses. That evening Justine attends one of Paris’ most famous shows, the cabaret at the Lido.
Much of Justine’s time in Paris is spent shopping. Her first trip is to the markets that cater for Paris’ ethnically diverse population. Here she is shown around by a Ghanaian gentleman, who explains the uses and properties of various African foods. Later on in the day she shops for the goods that Paris is more famous for. With a professional designer she is taken to some of the designer boutiques, although she ends up deciding to save her Francs by picking up some bargains in the popular store, ‘Tati’.
Paris is famous for its galleries and museums that represent both the traditional artistic movements of France, as well as some of its more avant-garde elements. On her way to the Picasso Museum in Paris’ fashionable Marais district she comes across a drama group who have squatted a building, and an actor engaged in quite a hair raising performance. Later in the day she visits the Louvre – home of the Mona Lisa. Although many are put off by the scale of this museum Justine certainly recommends a tailored visit.
After a day of such traditional French culture, Justine visits Disneyland Paris. The Park is only 15 miles east of Paris, and, although seen by many French people as illustrating the decline of French culture in the face of American, it is still the most popular tourist attraction in Europe.
On her last evening in Paris Justine employs some of the skills she developed attending the cookery course by preparing a good-bye dinner for the friends she made on her stay in Paris. Before leaving the following day, Justine finally manages to visit the Eiffel tower.