Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sacré Coeur and bracelets out of the blue

Surely Christmas Day would be a good time to wander around the steep hills of Montmartre. It would be less crowded, and we'd have space to enjoy the vast views of the city and its people from a prime spot in front of the Sacré Coeur. And yes, I confess that I also wanted to work off some of the buche de noel I'd eaten earlier.

As we climbed the first of the many, many stairs, a pushy little guy intercepted us. At first I thought he was asking for money, but he was trying to tie a bracelet on D.'s arm! I burst out laughing. D., so much nicer than I, put him off with a gentle, "Non, merci. Merci. Mer-CI..."

We climbed farther up the stairs and turned to watch Paris spread out in front of us. The same pesky little guy popped up in my peripheral vision. This time he was trying to tie the bracelet on a meek-looking man burdened with an unwieldy camera. Bracelet man was pretty aggressive. He plucked at the tourist's jacket and zigged and zagged into his personal space while the poor tourist tried to pull away. He scared him with his unexpected bracelet offensive. Oddly, this took place over a long period of time. The whole vignette unfolded in some surreal slo-mo that ended when the tourist fled.

I'm positive the tourist will go home with exaggerated tales of how dangerous Montmartre is.

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