April 1999
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By Courtney Knopf

Editor's note: This is a pictoral and written account of Courtney's trip to Europe, so be sure to wait for all the pictures to load. You don't want to miss a thing-- From famous art to matching dresses, she saw it all.

So, when you go to Paris, what do you take a picture of? The Eiffel Tower, duh. Well I took a picture of the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night and beautiful, but you wonít see it here. Why not? Cause it didnít turn out!!!!

Now that Iíve got that off my chest...I went to Paris for my Spring vacation to visit a friend of mine whoís studying there for the year (read: cheap place to stay).

First of all, the flight from Los Angeles to Paris is ELEVEN HOURS LONG. Thatís a long damn time to be sitting in a cramped little seat next to a French person who would rather a rabid dog was sitting next to them than an American. At least Air France was pretty accommodating, and miraculously, the food didnít suck. In fact it was quite good - grilled salmon with potato croquettes and of course, cheese and bread. Cheese and bread are a big thing for the French. And I suppose when you live in a country that produces 400+ different kinds of cheese, this is only natural. The dairy cases in French supermarkets are really something to marvel at. And you know the stereotypical French person clad in a beret and trenchcoat carrying a baguette fresh from the boulangerie ? Itís a stereotype for a reason; everyone carries baguettes. Itís almost like a fashion statement.

So, I get into the airport and suddenly everyone is speaking French. Thatís the thing about France; theyíve got a different word for everything . I claim my baggage, walk through customs without incident (little did they know of the VX nerve gas I had in my "shampoo bottle") and meet my friend Molly out in the foyer . Ironically, we find that even though we got dressed that morning 4,000 miles apart, we managed to wear the same thing (grey shirt, black pants, black loafers and a black leather jacket). This is a trend that youíll see more of later.

The first thing I notice is that people are smoking everywhere. In the airport, in McDonalds and on the Metro. Itís very strange coming from L.A. where you canít even smoke in a BAR. So seeing people smoking out in public seems almost illegal.

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