Friday, January 15, 2016

[PARIS] Burlesque Paris

All together now: “The French are glad tooooo dieeeee for LOVE!” And then cue Nicole Kidman hanging from the chandelier! Who knew Sia wasn’t the original, huh? I already told myself that the Moulin Rouge will be on the itinerary no matter what. Lo and behold, my friend’s flat is located in the same arrondissement just a few metro stations away! But I didn't make it inside. The façade glowing bright red along with the windmill are still worth the trip.

To prepare for your trip, you must go dressed up as Christina Aguilera dressed up as a Moulin Rouge courtesan gone totally bad, so bad it made her grandma holler. And then you must put Lady Marmalade on loop on your MP3 player while practicing the only French you know: “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” Unfortunately, not every Parisian you talk to will want to sleep with you tonight, and Carrefour ran out of Christina Aguilera costumes. Just grab a camera and go. Get off at Place de Clichy, line 13.

If you want to see the show, it'll cost you almost a hundred euros. Unless it’s actually 2002 Nicole Kidman lip synching to Madonna I’ll see in there, then I’m not interested. The feedback for the show online is kind of mixed but I bet it'd still be quite an experience. For all of us poor Christians out there, our Satines are going to have to wait until we manage to get our hands on that 100-euro bill somewhere. When all else fails, there’s always Montmartre.

Wow, how misleading is that title. I talk about the Moulin Rouge for three paragraphs and then I segue to a totally unrelated topic. Gotcha. Sorry, guys. It would've been fun to see what’s inside, but we’re poor. This is why that club is located next to Montmartre because that’s where penniless tourists take a stroll to console themselves after not making it to the club. I’ve seen Amélie, but I’m not a big fan so don’t quote me if I say that they shot the film here.

Another highlight of this arrondissement is the Montmartre cemetery which should belong to the Creepy Paris article, but since you are already in the area I think you should include it on your list anyway. Let’s not make things complicated here. You'd like to see the Moulin Rouge in the evening for it to glow bright red but the cemetery closes way before that. So I suggest that you walk around Montmartre first, visit the cemetery, and then put the Moulin Rouge right there at the end of your itinerary.

The cemetery can still be seen from the bridge but you have to exert extra effort because of the bridge’s design. A camera with flash would be your best companion because it’s obviously dark there. The gates of the cemetery are quite high and locked but maybe you are a resourceful person who knows how to sneak in without getting caught. I’ve had enough of the catacombs this morning and I think cemeteries are way creepier anyway so no thanks, just count me out.

The Montmartre stroll happened right after that. The entrance to the village is marked by a well-illuminated arc with the word Montmartre on it. The streets are cobblestoned and lined with small restaurants and cafes, most of which are almost always full of people, locals and tourists alike. Indulge your sense of taste and have a coffee or a meal there. If it’s not your thing, I saw McDonalds and Starbucks somewhere near the metro station. McDonalds, oh yes.

After walking back and forth for quite some time, I noticed a giant structure with a dome from afar. Like any other confused tourist not knowing where to go, I tried to find the building. I found it, along with four African immigrants who were obviously there to con the unaware. One of them will approach you with a smile on his face as if you’ve been following each other on Instagram for five years now. On his hand is a colorful string of yarn, a bracelet of friendship he made especially for you.

I was already approached at the Eiffel Tower the day before. The guy was really aggressive and kept on yelling DON’T BE AFRAID! DON’T BE AFRAID! at me. I mean, dude, you can’t tell me not to be afraid and be aggro at the same time, it kind of defeats the purpose. And so I dismissed him by saying that it was raining really hard and I had to find shelter. As for this one at Montmartre, I guess the rare good mood I was in that night made me more open to human interaction somehow.

The modus operandi? He will try to make small talk with you, catch your arm, then tie the lovely bracelet on you. His other friend will then approach you with a nail cutter and give you a manicure. No, I made that one up. He will cut the loose end of the yarn and now you have a colorful bracelet! And then they will flatly ask you for money. Like, “Give us money.” I was, like, “I have no money.” And they be like, “Look in your wallet, you have money.”

Dude, you told me you’re from Kenya. You guys win gold at the Olympics for running. I’m so not going to show you my wallet. And so you try to dismiss them with a two-euro coin but they be like, “You still have a couple of 20-centavos on the palm of your hand.” And then you be like, “Fine, take all my coins.” And then at one corner of the street, some random Caucasian will be looking at you, shaking his head. I don’t mean to be racist, but fuck those African immigrants. They totally ruined my evening.

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