Like London or Delhi or Bombay or New York, Paris is more than one city. There's the Paris of the garish tourists, for no outsider can match the finesse and grace of the true Parisian, and there's the Paris of the classic and nonthreatening seediness, if there's a such a thing, in Montmartre. There's the Paris where I narrowly avoided being robbed*, and there's the Paris of the puppet artist who shooed away an ice cream quaffing American from his shop but warmly welcomed wide-eyed me. There's Hausmann's Paris, of course, and weaving through all of this is the Paris of the Parisians, where they go about the seemingly uniquely cliquey business of being Parisian.
*Not exactly a hold-up, but boarding the RER train, I caught a girl trying to open my bag that was carelessly slung on my shoulder. She disappeared before I could react, leaving me very indignant indeed. Well, served me right for being a careless tourist. I clung on to my belongings for dear life for the next three days in the city. And no, this episode did nothing at all to spoil my Parisian fairytale - if you've been watching this blog lately, you might have guessed that. :)