Americans in Paris

We just spent five days in Paris, walking 32 miles, visiting four museums and Monet’s home. We saw thousands of people. We ate in non-Michelin rated restaurants and walked the streets of various Parisian districts. This extensive survey is not scientific or peer reviewed, but here are my impressions:

Gays are among us, a few flamboyant, but mostly blending. By and large, coupling is race-based, black women with black men, whites with whites, Syrians with Syrians, etc. It is also age-based, young with young, middle with middle, and as with me and my wife, old with old. Among younger people there is little variety, as young girls tend to hang with their own race and status. Same with guys. Where I see diversity is among young school children being led by adults, quite a cacophony of races.

This is all good, as people are getting along. Now, if I were to switch to American advertising, interracial and gay couples would be the norm, along with transgenders. This is “Wokism”, and is artificial, non-organic, and being forced upon us. Advertisers must know that if they do not push the woke agenda, they risk cancellation. Their hiring policies surely reflect this … SWMs (straight white males) need not apply for advertising positions. It has taken decades, but it is payback time.

Of course, that is Paris, and I fully expect that San Francisco and New York City might be more woke, with Times Square crawling with transgenders and San Francisco Design District with gays. So be it.

That is Billy Crystal and Debra Winger from the 1995 movie Forget Paris, one of my favorites. I was hoping to catch a video of them at Pont Neuf (“new bridge”) a very old bridge on the Seine where Gene Kelly also sang to Lesley Caron. No such luck. I do remember the two of them there, Crystal playing a basketball referee, and Winger’s character Ellen reminding him of soccer riots in South American where referees were killed. “You see now, I’m against that,” said Crystal’s character Mickey.

Winger had to bring comedy chops to the movie. She did very well opposite wise guy-quipping Crystal.

Mickey later reminds her of the movie An American in Paris, and even sings to her part of Our Love Will Never Die. They didn’t try to pretend he could sing, which made it a very sweet scene.

I liked the movie Forget Paris because even as they met and fell in love in Paris, they did not live happily ever after. They had more than a few problems, including arguments and separations, career conflicts, inability to conceive … but in the end decide that they are happier together than apart. As Mickey reminds Ellen, “Marriages don’t work when one person is happy and the other miserable. Marriages only work when both people are miserable.”

Crystal paid homage to Kelly and Caron in An American in Paris. Here is their Pont Neuf scene.

Are they really under Pont Beuf or is that a Hollywood Sound Stage? With Forget Paris, scenes were actually filmed in Paris and possibly even beneath Pont Beuf. The above video actually looks pretty good, but who can tell. It is so much cheaper to film on lot.

We did cross Pont Beuf, seen below, my photo.

I tried to decide which of the two under-bridge passages were used for Forget Paris. On the east side is a roadway, though it apparently was not in use. It has both barriers and trees and is wider than the east side.

If the movie scenes were really filmed under Pont Beuf, it would have been the east side. The question is if it is cheaper to build a Hollywood lot set or fly a crew to Paris. In the IMDB stuff about Forget Paris, it is claimed that the movie was shot in both the US and France. There is a wide-ranging countryside scene said to be France, and a scene at a small rural church, but the only site-specific scene was Pont Beuf.

Paris is suffering protest movements, some rather large. It has to do with changing the retirement age to 64 from 62. We did not see any of that, and were not inconvenienced at any time, as the bulk took place on May 1, their Labor Day and before we arrived. We did, however, come across what appeared to be a student protest, with maybe a hundred or so young people acting up and making noise.

Here’s the thing: They were completely fenced in – seriously – fences all around the non-building sides around them. There were police all about, young men armed with handguns, leaning up against the fences, chatting and joking with each other.

I have been involved in one protest my entire life, back (I think) in 1991, the First Gulf War. Having been a right winger I had the impression that the left was strong, and walked away thinking “never again.” The real “left”, comprised of labor unions and students and minorities, is weak, disorganized, and devoid of leaders. Only the fake left has chops.

Those students we saw might as well been holding a banner that said “We Are Weak! We Have No Power.” I briefly considered photographing the police that day, but the last time I took a photo of an armed person, waiting in line at Musée d’Orsay in 2016, I was told by a soldier to open my camera and erase the photo I had taken.He stood and watched and made sure I did it. Soldiers have real power over regular people.

5 thoughts on “Americans in Paris

  1. My easily distracted brain associated two memories with your post. Firstly, when I was in Paris 40+ years ago, the college group I was with had taken a tour bus to Fountainebleau, a castle south of Paris. The bus parked near a restaurant. When we went into the restaurant to get a table, there was an American couple, middle aged dorks, who put on quite the show when they wanted a tabled clearly marked Reserved (in French, but all the same letters!), pretending they couldn’t understand the waiter denying them the table. We all scorned them between ourselves saying, “That’s why France hates Americans!” Once we got into the castle, our group was separated from French groups for private tours of other parts of the castle. (So the docents didn’t have to speak English…) Nowadays, that would be considered racist, oui?

    My other memory is of the actual film, Forget Paris. My son was a mere babe, still suckling at my breast, about 8 months old. We were staying at my In-laws primitive house in the north woods of Wisconsin. No running water, a double outhouse, extension cords providing the electricity to the house and it was heated by a wood burning stove. I had nobody (the house was filled with people, just none interested in babies) there to give me a break, even to hold my son for a brief respite. I was perturbed to say the least, so I strapped him into his car seat and we drove about 30 minutes to the nearest movie theatre, which happened to be showing Forget Paris. Son was in his carrier seat, sleeping most of the time. Thank goodness. Until he started gurgling for food. I was meek back then, didn’t want to be a bother, so as quietly and unobtrusively as possible, I unstrapped him and nursed him, then returned him to his seat. He, we made it to the end of the movie! The outing was a success! I don’t remember much about the movie, unfortunately, but I will remember the outing forever.


  2. It sounds like you were isolated in a place where they only have small towns and bearded men on platforms hunting deer. Rough time for you! I do not know if in 1995 public nursing was frowned upon, but good for you for doing it,

    We were escorted out of a restaurant yesterday. We wanted something light, and the menu was heavy and expensive. While looking it over I asked for a cappuccino, and the proprietor said enough, that we do not come to his restaurant to have coffee. Fair enough, but he was a total asshole about it. He could suggest that we go elsewhere. He said (we were in the hills north of Geneva) that we would not go to a restaurant in Geneva and order a coffee. I said we’re from the US, and he was no less belligerent, and escorted us out. I did not respond to his anger, we just went our way. He was one angry frog.

    Some time, and I have done this, take a look at photos of American troops marching down Champs Elysees towards away from Arc de Triomphe … in my judgement, the photo is fake. That event never happened. I spent a good deal of time looking for photos of D-Day, and there are but a few, and none of actual combat. As I see it, the ships came in, landed troops without any or with little resistance, and marched inland. The French very much resent the whole Americans as saviors Attitude we carry. German troops were there, there might have been fighting at the Bulge, don’t know have not looked at it. But at that point it was a race to Berlin to get there before the Ruskies. The whole of WWII was a film and news phenomenon, a reality several stories above what was real. The “Greatest Generation” didn’t talk about their experiences because there was nothing to talk about.


    1. I agree we’re given stories and photo fakery. And yet, something goes on in these wars. I remember as a “kid” in the Eighties, seeing a friend’s dad out watering something on their suburban lawn. His calf had a long vicious scar up the side, machine gun(?) fire from Vietnam I was told. He had the intensity of someone who’d been in war too, or he may have just been an intense person. It can’t all just be friendly fire in training exercises or something, can it?? 🤣

      And hey, I’ve never been to Paris, but if I did I’d want to get booted out of a restaurant by a stereotypical grumpy Frenchman.. I think you scored a merit badge of some sort.


      1. What I imagine but cannot know is that wars like Vietnam and Korea at least are gigantic resets for those people. Think of it … they moved farmers into concentration camps, fed them and housed them, such as it was, and then moved them into cities forming what is now Vietnam, a garment district. Of course there was resistance, even guerrilla warfare as a form of that, and death and suffering, but the moving forces were outfits like SeaBees … construction. What were they building? I imagine neighborhoods, factories, roads and bridges for the new Vietnam. Quite a bit of destruction has to happen first, cities emptied and then bombed to oblivion. Then came the tractors and construction crews.

        In the meantime, the propaganda wing of the Pentagon wrote the script, evil Commies, Viet Cong, jungle patrols, tunnel rats, and Ho Chi Minh, [probably a] Western agent. That was all the cover story. I don’t know, but hope Lestrade, whose appetite is insatiable, expands to the European theater.

        WWII …


        1. Pay close attention to details on side of road, relative size of trees and (what few there are) spectators, and then wonder about the maneuvers troops must undergo to squeeze through or around Arc and then come out in perfect formation. Note that on D-Day photographers and photos were few, mostly of ships anchored offshore, but for this occasion there is a platform and surely a moving vehicle to be able to capture the troops front to back. Or, the entire shot of the troops was shot elsewhere and then inserted in a darkroom. In those pre-electronic days, they had experts with scalpels to do photo work, and that went on well into the 1970s-80s. They were very good but it was never seamless. Not until the 90s did digital take over.


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