YOU: "What is that?" (point to Notre Dame)
ME: "I dunno."
YOU: "What's that huge building?" (point to Louvre)
ME: "I dunno."
YOU "What's that monument?" (point to Bastille)
YOU: "So uh, what DO you know about Paris?"
I have had variations of this conversation with just about every visiting house guest since I got here five months ago. People show up here with various levels of expectations. Thankfully, in the "know your city's history" department, it's been on the low side. It's not that I don't care. I do. Just not right now. I am sure I'll get into the "fun facts" mode soon but for now, I am fine with big, broad strokes..
(reading giant ECOLE sign) "Uh, an old school."
"Who goes there?"
"I dunno. People."
(silence) "Wow, you're an amazing tour guide." (cue rolling eyes)
I walked through Notre Dame yesterday for the sixth time in 3 months. I have yet to actually read any of the signs inside or bother to look at any guide book about its history. I could tell you how much the candles cost though and what days they do confessions. Mostly I just look at the pretty lights and play "guess the tourists' country of origin" with myself as the crowds pack by.
Yes, I should probably brush up on some basic knowledge of when the Eiffel Tower was built and how long the Louvre is but really, for now, I am content to wander the streets and discover the present Paris, the one who painted her face for me and intoxicates me with her smells, her looks and her sounds. There's plenty of time for her baggage later. Just let me enjoy a pretty face for a moment.