In the aftermath of an atrocity as horrifying as the Paris murders on Wednesday, it is more important than ever to be crystal clear about the freedoms that we hold most dearly. Freedom of expression, which must always include the freedom to offend and to ridicule. Satire is an essential part of a democracy. Incitement to hatred and to violence are crimes; incitement to mockery is not... Freedom from fear, including the fear of being different, or of speaking out, or of questioning majority beliefs. Above all, the freedom from the fear of being murdered.
Once the reality of living in Paris hit home, the cost of doing so brought such excitement to a brief halt. It turns out, your year abroad differs greatly from your holiday; euros are not Monopoly money and now you have to buy washing up liquid. Therefore, jumpers from your netball club, whose only appeal is their impressive Parisian logo are a no-go. Below are some tips for doing Paris on a budget, as your home or your holiday.
Parisiennes aren't famed for their warm personalities and are, for the most part, considered by the rest of the world to be arrogant and unfriendly. I like to take this with a pinch of salt and whilst I wouldn't say it is totally unfounded I do think that there is little point in getting irritated by it. It is after all, the 'charm' of the city, is it not?
At this time of year, many of us find ourselves daydreaming about a holiday in the sun. There's another way to get through the winter months, though: embrace them. Escape for a short holiday without having to go long haul by exploring the winter wonderland that many European cities offer, not least Paris.
The only thing more annoying than an irritating child being rambunctious on a crowded train, is a child conducting himself in such a manner in French. There is something rather excruciating about hearing incomprehensible high pitched words produced from the back of someone else's throat when you are already of a nauseous disposition.