As insulting as it may seem to cultures and countries, Angela and I have decided that once you travel to a few cities, they all begin to seem very much the same. Had someone dropped us into Paris, and had we had no knowledge of the difference between the French and Spanish languages, we may immediately have believed we were in the city centers of Madrid or Barcelona or, if we did not know English, even London. All of these cities have the obvious rows of colorful shops, lots of flower shops, cafes, basic public transportation, and much-too-similar tourist attractions: museums, cathedrals, historic monuments, and parks.
However, when we made this observation, both of us were tired, sore, grouchy, and annoyed at having been ditched by our French friend Melanie the previous night when there seems to be nothing to do in her tiny hometown, Lille. To be fair to Paris and even to France as a country, people, and culture, it does possess several striking features that differentiate it from other places.