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I made a universe-shaking discovery last night. Well, sort of. Want to know what it is?

Wait for it.

Okay. Here’s my secret, a very simple secret. The suburbs of Paris look pretty much the same as the suburbs of New York City. And Chicago. And any other big city where you can take the Amtr–I mean, the Transilien–from downtown to the ‘burbs.

The train ride from Paris to Sartrouville is just about as charmless as the train ride from New York City to South Orange, for instance, though it does have its French touches that make it slightly more exotic.

Hilariously enough, that’s all I have to say about last night’s adventure, since I got all the way to Sartrouville, took one look (okay, a few good looks) at the mess that was the Sartrouville bus terminal in the rain, and bought myself a return ticket to Paris St. Lazare. (I was supposed to have gone to see L’Opéra à Quat’sous–Threepenny Opera–but I decided I would rather eat 8 euro than wait half an hour for the next bus. Plus my umbrella was broken because I stepped on it rather heavily the other day. Oops.)

So that was last night. But I thought it was a success nonetheless. Instead of allowing myself to run around like a crazy person and freak out about not being able to find the bus in the dark and the rain, I calmly said, “You know what would save my sanity? Going back to Paris.”

I have never been so relieved to get back to Châtelet and get on the RER B. (Did I mention that the train ride from Cité Universitaire to Châtelet took about forty minutes yesterday? We stopped for at least five minutes at every stop…and then we stopped in between stops. To quote a stupidly obscure line from Victor/Victoria, “I thought I left Chicago!”)

Also, because I quoted St. Exupéry and didn’t cite him earlier, here’s a little of that. I’ve had this memorized since freshman year of high school, Dr. Lehovich’s French III class.

Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur; l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.