Plan of Action

I do believe I owe you a post on More Mesa beach in California, especially as Lo Angeles magazine labeled it the best nude beach in “Los Angeles”…or maybe it was “California”, seeing as More Mesa is about 2 hours outside of Los Angeles proper. 

I also owe you a post on Pirate’s Cove nude beach…a post which absolutely must be written as it will save humanity…or at least that portion which plans on visiting Pirate’s Cove nude beach.

But I’m currently at a nudist resort here in Crete, surrounded by German nudists.   It’s great fun…you know, despite them being German.  Seriously, are they the most humorless people on earth?  But still, if this many brave the rain for the sake of nude swimming, I MUST visit Germany to partake in my naturist love.

I arrived here from Istanbul, which is a tale in and of itself…and with delightful news for you nudists who thought Turkey couldn’t possibly have nude beaches!

And Panarea, Italy was full of multiple surprises.  It combines everything I was meant for in life…nude beaches, sloth, and love. 

Nude on the beaches of Panarea

Nude on the beaches of Panarea


And you..you commentor, made a very good point.  Short and sweet is just as good as long and informative.  So stay tuned for more updates!  Or at least as long as I have internet service.

Peace out!



A Confession

Ok, here’s the thing about yours truly.  I have horrid ADD.  I love this blog and I love nude beaches but when it comes time to actually writing about everything…I fail miserably.  The moment has passed, and writing about it only makes me miss it.

NO, I’m not giving up on you all.  I still have More Mesa and the complete travesty that was Pirate’s Cove to write about.  I’m just letting you know why this blog is so shitty.

As it happens, I’m working on something that I’ve been inspired by…I hope you’ll love it.  Wait a couple months….

Name Drop Alert: On Sunday I went to brunch with my mom at the St. Regis in Orange County (somewhere).  The maitre de tried to sit us at a table I didn’t like so I requested one I did.  Kudos for him for doing it without making too much of a fuss.  It was only after removing the “Reserved” sign that I figured out it was meant for someone else…that someone being Magic Johnson and family.  So not only did I steal his table but I got to stuff my face with bespoke pancakes (mine had nuts and sprinkles) 6 feet away from him the whole time.

Back to the beach….

I was very much looking forward to Black’s Beach as it is not only legally clothing optional but it’s one of the most well known nude beaches in the country.  It even has its own page.  The directions in the Nude Beach Biblewere a little sparse, so I did my own digging and found this one.  For the most part it’s right on…up to the actual trail portion.  From what I saw, once you park…all roads lead to Black’s. 

You guys have every right to hate me, because once again I failed to take photos.  But you will love me for this one little bit of info: go to the bathroom before you go.  In fact, don’t go ANYWHERE NEAR the port-o-potties they have set up.  I won’t even describe what I saw…I trust that alone will explain things. 

Anywhoo, this hike down to the beach was far less alarming than that of San Onofre. There were actual steps, and the fact that I followed a toddler down should alieve any worry you may have about it.  That said, it isn’t by any means short at all. You will still get the vertigo thing happening if you dare to look beyond the steps in front of you, so tread carefully.

Once I was down on the beach, it was hard to figure out where the “nude section” was because there was such a broad mix of clothed and non clothed people.  If I had to guess I’d say 60/50 in favor of nudists.  Not wanting to be too much in the spotlight I turned right and walked about 50-100 yards and set up camp in an empty space.  This being Labor Day, there were few and far between.  Yes, it was damn crowded!  

As it turns out I picked the perfect spot because I was right below the hang glide base.  My favorite thing about this beach, and one that will keep me coming back despite easily being an hour past San Onofre and having no bathrooms at all, is that I got to lie back and watch the colorful hang gliders go by.  Most beaches, period, are rather dull, even when you have a variety of naked bodies to ogle.  But mix lovely weather, a great playlist on your ipod, a delicious gala apple, and the lazy prettiness of watching colorful parachutes glide in the sky and you have yourself a winner of a beach.  Of course this was Labor day so there were probably more nude bodies and hang gliders than usual, but it’s worth a go anyway.

I wasn’t approached by anyone, but I did manage to attract a nice little circle of men around me.  That was fine as they were all nude.  More men should really get up the nerve to talk to women, if only to say hi.  It gets boring sitting alone.  Of course one pulled out his cell phone so I glared at him and gave him my ass.  Again, come on guys!

The water here is fine, chilly like all water along the California coast.  Beware! The fact that the bathroom facilities are not only lacking, but a long hike up gives people only one other option.  Don’t hate!  When you gotta go, you gotta go, and it’s a big ocean.  Don’t worry…mine was only first class and I was well away from anyone else.  Can’t speak for others though, and there are a lot of people, so don’t be surprised to find a floater or two.  The sand is fine and free of rocks, sticks, and other things that might hurt your soles.  It gets really hot though so be careful. 

There are the same oglers you’d find at any “optional” beach, they just blend in better here because there is so much to look at.  There are also children, which is rare for the states.  None were nude of course (heaven forbid we lose that good old American puritanical spirit) but they happily played and frolicked with their perfectly nude parents.  That was refreshing. 

By mid afternoon I needed to call it a day.  I was nicely tan, out of apples, hot, sandy, and more importantly wanted to miss the I-5 traffic, which is a total bitch; Everyone loves California…sigh.  The hike back up the stairs was a pain in the butt…and thighs.  It’s long and if you are in the same shape as me (note: I do interval training 3 times a week and lift weights), you’ll need breaks.  Why do all the US nude beaches involved mountain climbing?

Black’s Beach pros:

  • Hang gliders to watch
  • Lots of people, including kids
  • Legal
  • Good sand

Black’s Beach Cons

  • Bathroom facilities
  • Questionable water
  • Lots of people, including kids
  • Taking I-5 to get there

Yes, it has been a while since posting.  But the next few months will be a whirlwind of travel and nude beaches!  Stay tuned.  Apparently some of my anonymity has gone by the wayside…so be it!  Everyone I know knows I love nude beaches and in the spirit of promoting it as a perfectly healthy, innocuous, family friendly activity that has no right being shunned or prohibited feel free to figure out my real name and put a face to the blog.   Blargh!

Anyhoo, this past week I went back home to sunny California.  There were some disappointments and some happy revelations.  Since most of my friends are not all that into nude sun bathing (go figure!) I didn’t get to hang out with many of them.  Also, the best cupcake shop on earth has closed for business (damn you economy!).

But we all know what you came here for, right?  Originally my plan was to go to all the nude beaches along the California Coast.  But when I got there, the joy at being with family and friends, and, frankly, relaxing the way one should while on vacation got the better of me and I decided to make it a half trip instead.

My first stop right after landing was San Onofre in San Diego county.  The entire impetus for this trip was San Onofre, which news reports had mentioned would be going “officially” textile after Labor Day 2009.  Not wanting to have missed out on the fun I decided to join the last hurrah. 

Practical Info: The World’s Best Nude Beaches and Resorts  (a must have for the traveling nudist) has the directions down right.  Take the 5 and exit on San Onofre/Basilone.  Here’s the thing: just keep going.  If you are driving south on the 5, turn right and go, go, go until you hit the park entrance.  I made the mistake of turning oon one of the side streets because, HELLO!, no signs.  Don’t do that.  Just go straight for a (long) while and you’ll get there.  Then once in the park drive, drive, drive until you hit the very last parking lot.  Trail 6 down to the beach will be there.

The funny thing is, there are at least two signs at the front entrance “strictly prohibiting” nudity.  Of course once I actually made it down to the beach there had to be at least 200 naked people in the “nude section,” the south part of the beach..ha, ha, ha.  Of course, after Labor Day, who knows…but a regular told me they always threaten to start ticketing and nudists still keep coming as usual.  As of September 2009 the entry fee was $15.  This seems to be a recent price hike since the guy after me was bitching about it.  I guess they need to fund the anti-nudity Gestapo that will be going around ticketing people for showing off what Mother Nature gave us.  Sigh!

As stated, trail 6 is the one you want to take down to the beach, as it’s the nearest trail to the nude section.   There are two ways to get down to the beach: the long road, which takes longer or the short cut which may very well break your neck.  You’ll see the shortcut well enough, mostly because veterans will be hiking down it carrying everything from surfboards to coolers, the same way high wire acts manage to juggle balls while walking the tightrope.  But seriously, if you get vertigo, have a fear of heights, have a fear of falling, have on flimsy shoes, or just generally value the one-piecedness of your bones and body…do yourself a favor and take the long road.  Yes it will add 20 minutes to your total walk, but you’ll be happy about it later.  I made the mistake of taking the shortcut only to find out too late that it was not at all safety-friendly and ended up scooting down on my ass much to the amusement of fellow beach goers. Once down on the beach, turn left and (hopefully, if the protests don’t fall on deaf ears) you’ll see plenty of happy nudists enjoying the beach.  There is a goodish mix…all adults.  Mostly men, but enough women to balance it out. The usual dense crowd of gay men, seconded only by solo men (who may or may not be gay).  A fair number of hetero couples and female groups as well.  As usual, I was the only single female I saw.

The south part of the beach pretty much goes on nude forever…even into the military section beyond the flimsy chain link fence.  I’m not advocating going past the fence (or violating the “law” by going nude after Labor Day), but you should know that there are several gaps in it, and plenty of nude sun bathers beyond it.  Your choice!

I found myself a pretty little spot away from the cliques (I hate nudist cliques) but near enough to be noticed (any nudists who says they don’t have at least some exhibitionism in them are lying).  I stripped and laid back to enjoy the sun.  Around the same time I realized I’d ignored the number 1 rule of nude sun bathing. BRING WATER! (seriously!), an Italian gentleman walked by and introduced himself.  He had a bottle of water so I happily welcomed his company.  I agreed to move over to his umbrella on the promise that I could have some of his water, which turned out to be warm but I didn’t care.  It pays to be a female nudist :).

The beach itself is nice enough…especially since SoCal weather is rarely a disappointment.  According to my friend the rocks that were piled on the sand were a recent event.  I loved the look of them so grabbed some to have their own bottle in my collection. There are also a lot of sticks and things in the sand, making it not so nice to walk on barefoot. But when you get to the water you notice a lot of gold flecks in the sand.  Not enough to go panning or anything, but enough to make it a spectacular change from the average beach!

Unfortunately I forgot to snap my usual photos.  I should have at least taken one of the trail so you would see I’m not some big sissy, but I was too busy trying to keep my neck from breaking! And on the beach, well, decorum dictates that cameras are a no-no.  That didn’t stop the Italian and I from snapping each other.  Thankfully it was all my camera because he came out looking like some Adonis (seriously…Italians are all blessed, if you know what I mean) while I came out looking like a beached whale…a tan beached whale, but a whale all the same.  Sigh!  Naturally those photos have been deleted thank you very much. The good news is, nudists are so forgiving of flaws! 

The rest of the day is a blur….meaning none of your damn business.  Then I headed home to spend time with mom.

San Onofre Pros:

  • Large nudist population, at least pre-ban
  • Lovely California weather
  • Gold flakes in the sand near water, worth that alone
  • Public restrooms (before the hike down to the water though)

San Onofre Cons:

  • Fee to enter park
  • Legality of nudism an issue
  • Long hike down to the beach
  • Sand full of rocks and sticks

6 Problems with Nude Beaches

1. Legality:I goodish number of “nude” beaches are not technically legally nude.  I’d say half the beaches I’ve been to have been that way.  Usually it’s tradition or remoteness that causes a beach to become nude.  If nudists have been going to a beach for years and years with no problem, many law enforcement personnel will look the other way…until some busybody starts complaining.  On the other hand, sometimes you have a case where the beach is so remote that any prude who happens by  would be unlikely to find any law enforcement located conveniently close by to bitch to.   But these things do happen, and it always makes nude sunbathing a daring proposition.

2. Public Facilities. So often nude beaches are located so far off the beaten path, it makes no sense for the government or who ever owns the land to provide places to practice basic hygiene.   This usually means either hiking it back to civilization, or going the way of the cave man and doing your business in the bushes or water. 

3. Vending.  On popular beaches you can easily find at the very least carts to buy hot dogs, cotton candy, over-priced soda, and stores selling beach stuff like towels, flip flops, etc.   On nude beaches you are usually left to fend for yourself.  I have to attribute this to remote locations or the low volume of customers.  In my opinion, someone could make a killing at a place like Hippie Hollow in Austin.  Of course the Europeans get it right….there was a full blown restaurant and bar on Zandvoort in the Netherlands.  Oh Europe, why must you always show us up?

4. Oglers.  Oglers are always a problem at nude beaches.  Ok, mostly in America so far as I’ve seen.  Yes there was a bit going on in Bredene, Belgium while I was there…but I think that may have been 1) I was the lone person (female) there and 2) I was black (?).   In the US I’ve fond the oglers fall into one of two groups (and yes, this is going to be perfectly racist/sexist…but true!): fully clothed Latino males and white males in swimsuits.  I’m not sure what the deal is with Latino men, but 100% of the time, without fail, this is the case.   Frankly, it’s disappointing. Of course there are other male nudists who ogle, but they don’t count….unless they pull out the cell phone.  Come on guys, you think we don’t know what you’re doing???

5. Difficulty of Access.  This is a big one for me, because of my unfortunate accident.  Usually you have to hike a long, and often difficult trail to get to a nude beach. At Hippie Hollow it’s the boulders you have to hike down.  In Puerto Rico it was a trail full of spiky bushes.  In California it was always a steep vertigo-inducing cliff.  At the very least you will have to hike to the tail end of a public textile beach.  This is pretty much a given for any nude beach I’ve ever been too…and probably will be the case when I’ve visited them all.  If you know any different let me know and that will be the next place on my list!

6. Sexuality:I’m no prude and I have no problem with people, nude or non-nude, who want to make out on the beach.  The only implication is,  it’s then assumed that you yourself will dabble with anyone who comes along.  Yes, you’ll find a lot of swingers at nude beaches.  Yes, you’ll find a lot of hanky panky going on in the bushes.  No, not every single female, or couple you see is interested in a threesome, wife swapping, public shagging, or going home to “take things further” with you.  It’s ok to ask…but just because you share your beer with me doesn’t mean I have to go home with you.

…and being a nudist

….and being a female.

Prior to going to the Netherlands I happened to start communicating with a man living in England who is also a nudist (we met on a site geared towards that).  It just so happened that he went to Rotterdam quite a bit on business and, naturally, spent a lot of time at nude beaches in the Netherlands while he was there.  So he offered to be in Amsterdam at the same time as me and guide me to the nude beach at  Zandvoort.


So no sooner had I returned from said trip when I received a message from yet another man from said site* contacted me.  This time from Sicily.  Now when flipping through my handy dandy guide book on all beaches nude  I didn’t see much for Italy.  But this man lives on Sicily “in a house with a garden” and swims nude quite often in the volcanic waters off the coast.  Can you imagine!  So when he offered to host, I had no choice but to accept.

In my history I’ve met a lot of people (yes, mostly men) online.  And no one ever fails to tell me “be safe!” when I meet them…even some of the very men I’ve met in the same manner!  But I’m of the firm belief that the vast majority of men in the world are not psychotic murderers/rapists/maulers…they just like women.  And I like men.

However, I am noticing a difference here. Nothing to raise a red flag, just a difference in personalities between Brits and Italians, I guess.   With the Brit, there was A LOT of back and forth via e-mail, proper planning, full communication on both sides so that we could both be assured that we weren’t said psychotic murdering, raping, maulers.  With the Italian it went pretty much like this:

Him: hi [one sentence about me and where I live]

Me: hi, that sounds like a really great place to live.

Him: So I saw you travel a lot to nude beaches.  You should come here!

Me: I’d love to.  So tell me more about yourself.  Do you want to know anything about me?

Him: Well I would like to know if you can make it here to go swimming in the volcanic waters with me.

I’m in the process of drawing more info out of him. My instinct tells me he’s not being evasive, just less interested in “foreplay” than the actually getting to business portion.  I tend to be the same way so I sympathize.  Besides, we have a couple months to chit chat because I’m throwing caution to the wind and going.  But not stupidly.  I always tell two people where I’m going and who with…so they have as much info as I do.   If he ends up killing me, at least I’ll have experienced nude swimming in volcanic waters.

*I won’t mention the name of the site because I have a bit of personal information there and heaven knows one of you sneaky bastards will try and find me.  You know who you are!

Let me start off by saying, I didn’t much care for Paris.

To be fair, Paris was sort of an aside on this trip; A place I went because, well, I was all the way over there and, why not?  To be even more fair, Paris does have sort of a nasty reputation for being full of snobby pretentious people who hate Americans….a fully deserved reputation.

Not that anyone was rude or condescending towards me.  Most people were either neutral or quite nice…with a scattering of that just-can’t-be-bothered blasé that so many of them seem to have.  A few even mistook me for being French!   But there was still this air about them that made me antsy any time I wandered into  a bar or boulangerie or restaurant.  Unlike in Amsterdam where I always felt welcome and at home in any place…even if the staff were stand-offish (can’t figure that one out).

The city itself is as beautiful as all the photos and movies portray it to be.  I took the metro to my hotel.  Thier system there is very user-friendly…even for the non-native speaker.  Of course the city itself is a labyrinth which seems to have been built up before the  terms “city-planning” and “grid” were invented.  But I suppose some people might say that’s part of it’s charm.  I say that’s exactly why I got lost trying to find my hotel.   I was on the “Left Bank” near the Eiffel Tower so, despite my bewildered state, I was privy to some glorious real estate.

I had chosen my hotel because someone in some online review had said there was a bakery right down the street and I had no desire to visit French restuarants and pay French prices. Here’s the thing about Paris, or at least the part I was in,  there is a bakery (boulangerie) on every fucking corner there.  Chances are, no matter what hotel you are in, if you walk two blocks in any direction you will run into at least three.  A lot of those The French are Skinnier Than You Neener Neener Neener books go on about how the French buy their food fresh daily from different markets, also holds true.  On my block there was a boulangerie, a “convenience store”, a fruit stand, a place to buy meats, a wine shop, and a flower shop.  I also had a view of an Italian restaurant from my hotel window where, yes, the Parisians did eat late and linger a long time over their meals.  Me, I stuck to a diet of baguettes (purchased from the snooty boulangerie lady) and Camembert cheese and mimosas (from the civil man at the convenience store)….and still lost weight!  I attribute that more to the walking than the diet.

The street where my hotel was on:

hotel room

hotel room


hotel view

hotel view

I was only there for a full day so I did what any tourist would do with only one day in Paris: Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

Eiffel Tower:

From below

From below

From Afar

From Afar

At night

At night

It does this sparkly thing only at the top of the hour.  I didn’t realize this until after waiting 45 minutes, then flying back home and looking it up online.  I caught a glimpse on my way to photograph it at night and it wasrather spectacular.  I did also go up to the top of the tower but the photos are boring.  Go online and do a search…mine were no different.  If you’re going, I suggest avoiding groups of spoiled American teenagers on a tour of Europe…is it any wonder the French hate us?

Then I was off to the Louvre.  I took the metro and got off at the Concorde exit. Let me just say, if you are going, this is the exit to get off at.  Walking out of the metro entry you will see a grand scape that is very reminiscent of the Mall in Washington DC, but lovelier.  I suppose all Capitols have such magnificent and manicured impressive displays.  Paris is no different.  It was quite beautiful. 

Unfortunately the day was rather drab.  I walked through a park  and some gardens and past the ferris wheel to get to the Louvre

You can walk into the pyramid without buying a ticket as the ticket booths are inside underground.  You do of course have to go through security.

Here’s the thing about the Louvre: if you aren’t into art, it’s a chore and a half.  I won’t come right out and say don’t go, because you can’t just go to Paris and not go to the Louvre.  It does have some interesting pieces in it (see below) as well as some famous ones it’s fun to see in person.  But Christ almighty if you don’t have to walk 10 miles through crowds and exhibits of what seems to be the same thing over and over again just to get to those bits.

My favorites:

Ancient Egypt

mummy case

mummy case



Then of course there is the Louvre’s most famous piece.  I had been warned before hand to be completely underwhelmed by the size and scope of the Mona Lisa, so the real thing actually impressed me more than I thought.  It wasn’t enough to overcome my complete wonder as to why that particular piece should be more important than the thousands of other paintings that were just as, if not better than, the Mona Lisa.   I mean really…a smile??

Mona Lisa Orgy

Mona Lisa Orgy

This is as close as I could get

This is as close as I could get

 I personally was far more impressed by the HUGE painting that took up an entire wall opposite the Mona Lisa:

Now that is what I call an awe inspiring painting!

Having walked about 5 miles and 6 civilizations I was tired and ready to go back to my hotel.  Unfortunately there appear to be no short cuts in the Louvre.  It’s like they are forcing the culture down your throat in some sort of sadistic Clockwork Orange torture program!!!

I did snap a photo of this on my way out only because it made me giggle like a 13 year old boy:

Yeah, I know...Im a total boor

Yeah, I know...I'm a total boor

By the time I did find my way out…I bought a well deserved crepe.  I wanted to try Nutella because you (apparently) can’t get it in the states easily and all the Europeans (and American travelers) gush on and on about it:

crepe being made

crepe being made

Ok, at this point I’m totally sounding like a boobish annoying ugly American but…it wasn’t all that.  It tasted like sickly sweet chocolate spread.  Maybe the guy, seeing that I was a fat slovenly American, put too much in, but it nearly made me gag and I literally had to squeeze most of it out to enjoy it.

nutella crepe

nutella crepe

Of course, as usual I found the best parts of Paris to be off the tourist path.  After a much needed rest and a bit of boredom I wandered around.  I came across some development sites with gravel out front and decided to get my “sand” from here:

Paris sand

Paris "sand"

I was happy about this spot because right after, walking in a tunnel, I was “accosted” by a man who spoke only French and made it very clear that I was an impressive specimen, basically “gibberish gibberish BELLE gibberish gibberish MAGNIFIQUE gibberish (kissy hand signal thing with fingers to mouth).”  It’s true, when it’s in French it sounds so much more impressive and romantic…sigh.  I smiled and skipped during the rest of my evening constitutional.   And I found a library branch!

library branch

library branch

If there is one equalizer, it’s the public library.  I had no trepidity about walking  right in and perusing the books.  If there is anything that will make me ever want to learn French, it’s Largo Winch comic books. 

Later on I stopped to partake in my usual endeavor of drinking beer at a bar.  I braved a bar where the camaraderie seemed genuine….except for those of us who speak English.  But the bar tender was nice enough when I asked for a beer (gasp! as opposed to wine???).  French or Belgian, he asked.  As if!  Who has ever even heard of French beer.  Naturally I went with Belgian….which is probably why it cost 8 Euros (!!! I know!).  Needless to say I was very much longing for Amsterdam, the land of cheap yummy beer.

I also found an interesting art “exhibit” outside of a school near my hotel.   These were some of my favorites:

For more, go to this website

For more, go to this website

My personal favorite:
And the next day it was time for me to head back to my beloved Amsterdam.  By this time I had been forced by default to learn how to get a single ticket using the machine.  1. Because, much like New Yorkers, Parisians have zero tolerance for clueless people who can’t quickly get their tickets (here I don’t blame them, once I figured out the system I myself had little tolerance for slow people holding up the line trying to figure it out) 2. because the guy who was supposed to be manning the booth at the Dupliex station was, unsurprisingly, NEVER there, and when he was, was too lazy to be bothered (I was soon to learn this attitude is somewhat of a trend in Paris).
Anyway, I made it on to the metro with 1 hour to spare before my train took off.  An unfortunate series of events, and my own ignorance led to me just making the Thalys to Amsterdam…no seriously, just!   First, I missed the first metro headed to Gare du Nord and had to wait 5 minutes for the next one.  Then when I got there I had no clue how to find the international trains, let alone the one I was supposed to get on.  here’s the thing Parisians: SIGNS, PEOPLE…SIGNS!!!!  So I asked a very nice woman who didn’t speak a lick of English but didn’t give me flak for trying to communicate that way.  After some hand signals and finally the word Thalys she pointed up. 
Note to future travelers:
1. Once you get off at the Gare du Nord station…go all the way up if you are looking for the international trains.
2. HOLD ON TO YOUR METRO TICKET.  For some insane reason you can’t get out of the station without one.  I spent 20 minutes figuring this out, after having lost mine.  This forced me to deal with a lazy Frenchman leaning against the gate who simply yawned, shrugged, and pointed off to some amorphous place elsewhere.  Then the “information” booth where another lazy Frenchman sat and stared in all his slack-jawed slothiness for a full minute and finally buzzed me out through the side.  If I sound bitter it’s because I am, being that all this silliness this gave me only minutes to race to the international trains platform, discover that my train was at platform 8, my car was car 16, which meant a full 2 minutes of running to get on as the doors literally closed behind my back.   The French may have a cushy “working” system, but it totally sucks when you are on the receiving end of it.  And you thought Americans were lazy workers!
Anyway, I was happy to be back on my way to Amsteram and leave Paris far behind.  It certainly has it’s charms but I’ll be fine if I never go back.