France - Paris
September 14th - 19th

Paris is an incredible city. Firstly, I must thank my family in Paris: Marzanna, Didier, Stah, Hela, Paul-Louis, and Cleo. for their hospitality, and for taking the time to guide me about france. Certainly I big party of the french experience is the food they have here, every meal is accompanied by a course consisting solely of a variety of cheeses, fruit and breads. France has over 320 varieties of cheese.

The metro in Paris is excellent. There are 14 or so lines. The RER lines are express lines and can take you a long distance in a very short time since they dont stop at every station. The metro in paris is certainly the most functional mass transit system i have seen thus far; you can travel anywhere within Paris quickly and safely, it is a bit expensive though (4.05 Euro if you come in from outside paris, 2.05 within the centrum).

Paris has alot to offer, The catacombs primarily I loved the catacombs! the bones of 6 million people were excavated in the 1800's and stored in a mined out cavern, in order to make place in the cemeteries to burry more dead. While a bit morbid, I really enjoyed the catacombs because...
1. they are underground
2. The architecture is older than anythign i have observed in canada (from the 1700 - 1800's.)
3. the tour was a good value for only 7.50 Euro

The Eifel tour was great, a bit expensive on my opinion. i took only film pictures, so you will all have to wait to see them. Luxemburg park, also in the downtown centrum of Paris, was quite remarkable. the age of culture in Paris really shows through, much like the public green spaces in Canada it is open to the public for no charge. However this park is scattered with incredible sculptures and various artwork in the form of landscaping, architecture, sculpture and people busking.

The Chateaux Versaille was also well worth the trip out of Paris, This is one of the many castles all throughout France, and by far the most majestic.

The Louvre... this is something else! it would easily take 2 full days to see everything at the Louvre! I was able to tear thorugh about 60% of the exhibits during my brief 8 hour excursion here. No price would be too much to pay for this collection of art and culture accumalated over CENTURIES!

As a final note about France, the beer is ok (mostly light beers) wine is obviously the national preference. It is wel worth investing in a broad selection of local wines if you enjoy wine. The wine is affordable and truly exquisit.

Well I'm off to Amsterdam!
Cheers, and best wishes to everyone at home, and all of you in France, as well as all of you I've met on the road so far.
--martin

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