Sacramento vs. Paris
Wow, I haven’t blogged for a bit. Mainly because I got a new kitten. I mean, would you blog with this guy around?
His name is Carl and he’s perfect in every way.
Look at him go.
Also, I haven’t been blogging because I went on a big ol’ vacation. That’s one of the perks about working in the travel industry: No one can give you a hard time for taking really long vacations. I can justify it as “research.”
This time around around I “researched” the Italian riviera, the French Alps, Provence and about 250 pounds of cheese.
Also, the trip ended with a few days in one of the top tourist destinations in the whole dang world: Paris, France.
As I mentioned in my crowd-pleasing post titled “I Went to Cleveland” , when I travel, I like to compare that city’s tourist appeal and amenities to Sacramento’s. So that led me to ask the question “What’s Paris got that Sacramento ain’t got?”
Well, I guess I should start with the Eiffel Tower because Paris certainly has that. Most of what I know about the Eiffel Tower I learned from a fairly cryptic and mostly inaccurate song by the Pixies, so I really I just know that it was built for an old-timey World’s Fair and that it looks cool.*
I guess our closest equivalent to the Eiffel Tower in Sacramento would have to be the Tower Bridge. One advantage the Tower Bridge has over the Eiffel Tower is that there is never a line to get to the top. Of course, visitors aren’t ever allowed to go the top, but still “lines suck” am I right?
Also, when big boats come by, the Tower Bridge draws up and let’s them cruise safely underneath. I’d like to see the Eiffel Tower do that! That said, I think Paris still wins this battle…until Sacramento wisens up and creates the “Eiffel Tower Bridge” which would basically be like a drawbridge with two Eiffel Towers on it.
Paris also has a museum on like every corner. Sometimes two. None of them are railroad museums though, so Sacramento gets one point there. Also, the Crocker Art Museum is really nice. I think after the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris, Musée Rodin, Musee du Luxembourg, National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou, Petit Palais, Musée de l’Orangerie and probably a couple that I’ve never heard of, that I’d put the Crocker right up there. The Crocker would be like the 11th best art museum in Paris. That’s pretty good!
Personally, I think both destinations have interesting history, but I suppose Paris has more of it.** Paris has been at or near the center of pretty much every major world event for the past 1500 years or so, but they don’t have old west saloons, gold panning or jug bands, so if you’re into that – as I very much am – then Sacramento has Paris beat. Let’s call this one a draw. Come at me.
Getting around town is always important to visitors. The Paris metro is pretty spectacular. It’s cheap, it’s efficient, the stations are sometimes pretty and there’s no reason to ever drive anywhere because it’s so great. Our Sacramento Light Rail is kinda sad in comparison, but it does come in handy if you are willing to put in just a little effort and aren’t necessarily in a super-huge hurry to get anywhere. Still, Paris wins this one. Let’s compare maps:
See all the lines on the Paris one? That’s what makes it good.
For walking, Sacramento might actually get another point. We have a perfect grid of numbered and lettered streets so if you can count and know the alphabet, you are always pretty much good to go.*** Paris is a tangled maze of streets that I’m too stupid to figure out. Plus, if you see the Eiffel Tower in the distance you think “Hey, I can totally walk there in no time” and then like 4 hours later you are totally lost, crying in a Parisian gutter covered in blisters….and also covered in Nutella because you probably stopped at every crepe place along the way. I did, anyhow.
Speaking of crepes, Paris is also known for its food. But if it’s so good then why isn’t it “America’s Farm to Fork Capital”?#
Ok, for reals, the food in Paris is great. I ate a lot of mussels, fondue and duck confit. Plus, wine is cheaper than soda. It’s hard to beat that. Of course, I’m pretty stoked on everything I eat in Sacramento too. Basically, I just like eating so maybe I’m not the best judge.
So I guess – when all is said and done – the answer to the question “What’s Paris got that Sacramento ain’t got?” is “too many things to list” but, hey, Sacramento is pretty nice too.
Oh, and here’s one more photo of Carl.##
*Wouldn’t Carl look adorable in his little beret walking around Paris?
**Speaking of history, they found Carl in a woodpile where his mom abandoned him, but now he just sleeps in our house.
*** Carl would not be “good to go.” He’s super-cute, but sucks at reading.
# Even Carl knows the answer to this one. Plus, he’s tiny, orange and likes to play with yarn.
## Carl lives in Sacramento so I take it all back: Sacramento is way better than Paris.