Sunday, July 15, 2018

Paris in an efficient week

This travel time is cheating a little bit because I met a friend in Paris and his friend had been living in Paris for the past few months studying cooking, so I kind of coasted.

Things that I did and found worthwhile were the Louvre. I went through the newer area up the stairs from the boat sculpture, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, first, which I think was a good idea because there's less pizzazz that route, and then when I was tired after lunch is when I hit up the crazy Italian wing. The French revolution wing was closed, which was a little disappointing because I'm a fan of Géricault and Delacroix, but ok.

Musée d'Orsay is not as massive as the Louvre, but is also very interesting and important more modern pieces and a beautiful building in its own right.

I really liked dining at the Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. It as a Michelin star and was of course pricey, but seemed like exactly the sort of thing you would want to spend money on. Make a reservation for sure, and as early as you can. I think they assume you want a good window seat and seating is based on how early you make reservations. Even locals believe Jules Verne to be "classique".

For other restaurants in Paris, the Fork App is apparently good. As one local put it, it's like Groupon for Paris restaurants, but good. You make discounted reservations when restaurants think they'll have extra capacity. There's also Yelp, but apparently the reviews in French can be quite different from the reviews in English. For instance, one restaurant within a short walk of the Eiffel Tower had things like "Good standard fare" while the French reviews called it a "National scandal!"

Pigeon is delicious. Heads up! Also of course escargot. My chef friend really recommends Grand Cœur as one of her favorite restaurants.

Also, my friend had been taking private French tutoring with a Paris local, and I think he enjoyed getting the inside scoop on local trends before he went. The Google Translate app is a must for weak French. Be sure to download the French dictionary ahead of time and get used to the app if it's your first time.

Apparently Parisian French is particularly hard to learn and understand. I had heard that from many sources, but it wasn't until I was dining with a new friend who was French herself, but who had been away for a decade or two, struggling to communicate with a server at a restaurant that I realized how serious that admonition was. She said that when she comes back, she often ends up speaking to her friends in English, so they can practice and because it just ends up being easier.

Notre Dame was beautiful, although an interesting trend is that Cathedrals or other older buildings in big old cities that have turned into sprawling modern metropolises is that there is just a lot more updating and other changes that happen to the buildings over centuries, for better or for worse. I did meet a cheese chef outside named Remy and kissed in the rain near the bridge to the other little island behind Notre Dame and he invited me to come visit him in Monaco. That seemed very Paris, but I also think I viewed the interaction in a more casual way than he did. Be sure to check out that view of the Seine and Notre Dame, I think it looks its best that way.

Versailles was great, but I definitely got lost going out there, had to ask people what train was the right one (which I should have done in the first place) and it's true that the line is pretty long to get in. It was what I thought it would be, which is a testament to its fame and current status.

A cheaper and dirtier version of French opulence was the Paris opera house, which was wonderfully more than I thought it was going to be. Also, for Phantom of the Opera fans, you can see the Phantom's box -- Box 5. While we were there, the inside (Chagall ceiling!) was closed for a ballet rehearsal. That was also beautiful to watch.

The catacombs were awesome! Again, because they are so small and down so far, only so many people can go in at a time so be sure to book well ahead, print out your tickets, etc. so you don't end up having to stand in the very long line and instead can stand in the shorter.

You can climb up to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and check out Montmarte, in fact one of my new friends suggest I wake up early and climb up those steps to see the sunrise, but I was exhausted by this time.

I took a quick day trip outside the city to meet a new sociopath friend. More on her later, probably, but her story for me was perhaps one of the most compelling because she had just discovered her identity by chance a few months before, so I was seeing her discover herself and come to terms with it in almost real time. And she's such a classic example of what you would expect a very smart, beautiful, successful sociopath to be. Really you would all love to meet her, as well as the rest of the new friends I met on this trip and I hope to be able to write more about them in the next book.

I never feel sorry for the people I meet, but sometimes their circumstances are so poignant to me. A lot of them just want to live an authentic life of pleasure, but also some sort of substance or meaning. And it's not so much their unique mental processes that often keep them from it, but rather the reactions and misunderstandings of the people around them. I hope that we can do better as a society in this regard. I hope that we can come to understand each other better and allow each other to freely live genuine lives. 


  1. Socios are easy to understand: hollow shells mentally programmed to keep others away & never get involved emotionally in anything (as protection against a cruel world where everything just dies). Snakes and lizards may experience rather similar genuine lives..

  2. It´s almost like when young folks color their hair grey to "be safe" from ageing; to try to make sure time cannot reach them. But the socios psychology is not about superficial stuff. They have real "bulletproof emotions". Not many things mean much to a psychopath, and everything that does not cannot do harm (but it can cause anger). This is the feature most non-socios would like to have: a truly supernatural advantage in a world filled with pain.

    1. There's a lot of truth in this.

      Negative emotions, in particular, are blunted and short-lived. Depression is non-existent.

      Anger may be a notable exception. Intense, perhaps- but equally fleeting.

      I have come to believe that from a psychological standpoint, "sociopathy" is just an amalgamation of deeply-rooted defense mechanisms- the result of a complex interplay of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors.

      To care is to invest oneself.

      I think that sociopaths like to invest themselves in viable areas, where the return on their investment is high.

    2. Many people act like they don´t care, whatever and that sort of things. But they are haunted by CARING in ways the socio is nowhere near. I suspect many socios woould like the anger-issue to be the same. There´s great power in the ability to be able to stand taunting & insults without replying, just ignoring.

  3. It was really very nice to read your article. thanks for sharing you experience with us.

  4. Sounds interesting, I would love to check these out

  5. Some socios may think that their parents normal life, which they raised the socio in, "pruned" their character too much. They may think that all the concern about behaving in ways which pleased others severely limited their growth and that somehow their "dislike" of ordinary people became elevated way too high because of this.


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  8. Paris is a must visit place. Great post. Keep sharing good stuff.

  9. How can it be explained that psychopaths can have any birthdate, but people born in the zodiac sign Scorpio almost ALL have strong socio personalities? This seems rather swept under a carpet, Scorpio is supposed to be about sex, sex & sex. When in reality its the psycho sign.

  10. Hi anonymous @July 23, 2018. How come you know so much about astrology?

  11. Why do people interested in socios know so much about them? Perhaps they have read "a few" books about them. Or maybe they have intuition about the subject. Or perhaps they have experience of real specimens.

  12. LOLs! :D


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