Not your typical big city. Typically there's noise. Too much noise. Horns are blaring, sirens screaming, people shouting, tempers flaring. But not here. Normally, graffiti and mounds of trash meet your every step. But not here. Here it's clean.
As you saunter along the river that winds through the city, all the sights, sounds, and smells greet you. Birds fly above. People shop along the sidewalks purchasing trinkets and souvenirs to remember their wonderful time. The outdoor cafes are filled to the brim with customers. The waiter brings a fresh basket of bread to the table, and the patrons smile with delight as they bite into the warm food. Boats drift peacefully by with the national blue-white-and-red flag fluttering in the cool breeze. Church bells, as from times long past, ring in the clear noon air. The aroma of fresh-crafted baguettes wafts from a nearby bakery to greet your nose.
As you walk, you can't help but notice the amount of care and attention that has been given to the city's architecture. Its grandeur has been preserved for so many years. Why, even the statue of Joan of Arc has been recently cleaned. And the music! Such music! Close by, a man is playing Le Vie En Rose on the accordion. So typical of this untypical big city. Crowds gather to watch an artist hard at work on the pavement. Using simple chalk, a man can create a masterpiece on the sidewalk—the sidewalk! Da Vinci would probably have never painted his famous lady on the sidewalk. And yet people stop to take pictures and admire the artist's talent. When it's done, it might depict the city's most iconic structure.
Of course, any visit here must include a fresh turkey-on-baguette sandwich from Paul. If the day is nice, some Orangina may complete the delectable ensemble. With these in hand, you sit down on a park bench. People greet you with “Bon jour, Monsieur.” While enjoying the perfect weather, you watch the pigeons flapping about, or the children sailing boats in the fountain. The man who owns the boats is old, most likely retired. Quite content is he in his life of simplicity. The aged wrinkles reveal a life of hardship; now he sails boats.
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