I was fortunate enough to visit Paris with my girlfriend recently. April in Paris: the perfect place for fine dining and romance. Consequently, my girlfriend and I spent a lot of time in the hotel room... ahem... ...looking up where the comic book stores are.* We hit up all the major attractions, like the Eiffel Whatsits, but since "Mona Lisa" makes me think of this, I wanted to experience nerd culture in France. First up, the Wi-Fi situation, and it is a situation. Hotels that claim they have Wi-Fi often don't, or their definition of Wi-Fi is what we in America call a "computer room." Also, if you use Data Roaming on your iPhone, expect to pay a whole lot extra for it. Although I hate McDonalds food, at least all their restaurants in Paris seem to have Wi-Fi, so get ready to lug your laptop to "MacDo's!" Authentic French food is incredibly delicious, but as dorky tourists, how could we resist a restaurant called "Breakfast In America?" The theme is 50's diner, with a healthy highlight of the TV show Friends, like a big autographed Friends poster and Elmo in a Friends mug.
Nothing goes together quite like the 50's and Friends! There's also a wall of diner images from movies, which my girlfriend thinks they found by Googling the words "diner" and "american movie." Likewise, while in Pigalle's infamous red light district, we missed the peep shows and headed straight to a museum. Namely the Musée de l'Erotisme (Museum of Eroticism), which had some amazing exhibits: from prehistoric statues to comfortable-looking dildo chairs! They had a TV showing silent pornos and apparently porn acting hasn't changed much in all this time. Girls have given the same expression to cameras looking up from a blow job for almost 100 years! It wouldn't be a nerd trip without visiting comic book stores. If it was January, we would have visited Angouleme, which hosts the European equivalent to Comic-Con. It's hours away from Paris, so it's only worth it to go in season. However, there were plenty of shops in the city to browse. The differences between French and American comic book stores are symbolized nicely in a place called Album, which has two stores right across the street from each other: the side selling American comics is darker, with wood paneling, black walls and completely cramped - exactly like back home.
The French side looks more like an art gallery, with white walls and way more space - that's what a lot of the big comic stores in France look like. Same with video game ("jeux-video") shops.** France doesn't really have a superhero culture of its own, so they read Marvel and DC comics in English, kind of like how nerds here read manga in Japanese. Graphic novels like Persepolis are huge in France (and abroad). However, the main icons of French comics are humor characters like Marsupilami, Asterix and Tintin, soon to be major motion pictures. Man, do they love Tin Tin! That guy has traveled everywhere, even to good ol' America. *Also, having sex. **Speaking of games, a street artist named Invader has put Space Invaders all over Paris. Thank you!
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