Events move fast and it’s hard for me to keep up, especially at my current glacial pace of writing. Just a few weeks ago in the shower I had what I was sure was an awesome hot take on the then-ongoing Supreme Court drama, but by the time I got out of the shower and had breakfast, my observations had been overtaken by events and the moment was gone. My hot take was cold.

Then I was all excited about going to Paris and coming back with some observations and witticisms and profundities about the French capital from my hopefully unique perspective, but by the time I was done exploring Notre Dame and finding lozenges for my suddenly-sore throat, my vacation was over.

If I failed to take any profoundly new pictures of Paris during my whirlwind tour there, I can take comfort in knowing that this is one of the most-photographed places on earth, and on a first visit I certainly wasn’t going to bring anything new to the picture.

I did eventually find cleaner bathrooms, so there’s that. And I learned that either I am extraordinarily lucky or the Parisian reputation for rudeness is thoroughly undeserved. I was pleased to find that people really do walk down the street casually holding baguettes in their hands, but dismayed to learn that it is impossible to buy throat lozenges at seven in the morning because everything is closed at that time, even the allegedly-24-hour drug stores. Once it woke up, though, Paris reminded me of New York way more than I had expected; it looked like the Upper East Side with only about 30 percent more French on the signage. I feel like at some point in my life somebody should have mentioned that. On the third day I even woke up to jackhammering in front of my apartment.

If you’ve been to Paris, or have even just heard of it, then you’ve seen these pictures before. Nonetheless, this is what I saw when I wasn’t busy trying not to swallow.

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