Saturday, September 13, 2014

Anecdotal economic data from Europe

Well, I haven’t posted a lot during this busy summer. Now I’m on my second day in France, after having spent last week in Holland, or better ‘the Netherlands’.  First thing noticed in Paris, the capital of the land of bon-vivants is the large number of smokers – not only the old; many younger persons smoke here as well. That is quite a contrast with Canada where healthy lifestyle is close to an obsession.

Here in Montmartre everyone sits on little terraces drinking coffee, beer and even wine while smoking like chimneys. You wouldn’t think there is a recession going on – everything is loaded with people. My math is not always perfect and I arrived a day early by train; the hotel was fully booked and they arranged a room in another Best Western 500m down the road. I hobbled around Rue Ordener (I first spelled it ‘ordinaire’ over-confident in my French language skills); Rue Ruisseau with no creek in sight  J; Rue Helmes and Boulevard Barbes.  All filled with people. The first night I ate in a restaurant along the Rue Ordener which filled up as the evening went along; there was life music with classic guitar and violin electrically enhanced playing jazzy tunes. As the evening went along, the restaurant filled up. Tables were added on the sidewalk until it was filled while pedestrians moved around the tables. Ca c’est normal! My food and wine was excellent but a continuous stream of scooters, small cars and city buses moved a few tables away from mine.
In my morning café, I was informed that they served only cookies but I was welcome to go to a nearby boulangerie and buy some croissants and consume them along with an 'caffee alonge’ (for us Canucks that is a regular coffee) in their café. French and their tourists are apparently cheap.  I paid 8 Euros for a cappuccino, an caffee alonge and some pate with French bread. Since I spend nearly 2 hours reading in the café I left a 3 Euro tip. The waiter was all excited, claiming that French tipped normally not more than 50 Eurocents which equates to a bit more than 50 cents Canadian.
I sat for hours in a cute little park In the middle of Montmartre with a playground. You must have heard that Europe’s population is quickly competing with the age of methuselah but this park was full of little critters and doting parents. The streets in Montmartre are filled with strollers and handheld toddlers. Les Parisiennes have apparently never heard that they are graying at an alarming rate. According to statistics, rather than in expensive strollers, citizens of Paris ought to ride in wheelchairs.

Tonight, I am eating in yet another restaurant in Montmartre, accidentally with an Italian menu. When I entered early in the evening it was empty.  Aahh! So there is economic malaise after all! An hour later it was full.  Yes life in France, especially supper, doesn’t start until eight pm – after I devoured a delicious bruschetta starter filling an entire large plate for 7 Euro.
Before I forget, they rent smart cars here as well along the city streets, just like in Calgary. Only these you plug in and they are not GM volts or a Tesla of $100,000 plus.
Electric cars for rent along Rue Custine, Montmartre, Paris

No comments:

Post a Comment