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Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Fivelives » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:09 pm

Militarily, they're the only unit France has ever fielded that's done anything of any note since the Gauls introduced the Roman legions to stirrups.

Which is kind of ironic, since the only requirement for joining the French Foreign Legion is to, well, not be French.

They've been kind of romanticized in the media as a sort of "last chancer's" legion, since traditionally, serving in the Legion settles any outstanding debts and clears you of any crimes committed prior to joining the legion. You're also encouraged to take a fake name when you join, too, and after serving at least one tour of duty in the Legion satisfactorily, you're issued identification (passport, etc) as a French citizen with that name.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Brekkie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:50 pm

Fivelives wrote:Militarily, they're the only unit France has ever fielded that's done anything of any note since the Gauls introduced the Roman legions to stirrups.

Which is kind of ironic, since the only requirement for joining the French Foreign Legion is to, well, not be French.

They've been kind of romanticized in the media as a sort of "last chancer's" legion, since traditionally, serving in the Legion settles any outstanding debts and clears you of any crimes committed prior to joining the legion. You're also encouraged to take a fake name when you join, too, and after serving at least one tour of duty in the Legion satisfactorily, you're issued identification (passport, etc) as a French citizen with that name.


Well, technically another requirement is that you must be able to SPEAK French.

Foreign Legionaries tend to be from the various current and former French colonies, and serve as basically a modern version of the Roman Auxiliary. Their reputation is somewhat shady, because they tend to be riff raff looking to start a new life.

I've met a few members of a company of them before, and I wasn't particularly impressed. I think their image is somewhat romanticized.

I'm a MUCH bigger fan of the British Gurkhas. THOSE buggers can FIGHT!
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Fivelives » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:49 pm

I think they changed from hardass to lardass when they stopped letting in the people who were looking to start over after making a mistake that involved (lots and lots of) police.

That, and I can't think of a single fighting force in the "free world" that's as hardcore as they were even as recently as the 1960s, so it makes sense that the French Foreign Legion has declined as well.

Oh well, c'est la vie!

Also, knowing French isn't a requirement to join: http://www.legion-recrute.com/en/faq.php?SM=0#f9

Previous knowledge of the French language is not required either. French is taught to legionnaires during basic training.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nuke » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:24 pm

Personally I think Omaha and Utah beach are a must (I would recommend the overlord tour if you go). Another cool place would be Mont Saint Michel.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Brekkie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:04 pm

Fivelives wrote:I think they changed from hardass to lardass when they stopped letting in the people who were looking to start over after making a mistake that involved (lots and lots of) police.

That, and I can't think of a single fighting force in the "free world" that's as hardcore as they were even as recently as the 1960s, so it makes sense that the French Foreign Legion has declined as well.

Oh well, c'est la vie!

Also, knowing French isn't a requirement to join: http://www.legion-recrute.com/en/faq.php?SM=0#f9

Previous knowledge of the French language is not required either. French is taught to legionnaires during basic training.

In what ways would you say that the SAS, or the Navy SEALs have declined in the past 50 years?

Or if you say Special Operators don't count, how about the United States Marine Corps? I'm hard pressed to think of any ways in which the Marines have declined since Vietnam.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Fivelives » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:20 pm

I have a cousin in the USMC. Actually, one and a half cousins (they're twins, one got separated for faking a hernia in boot camp).

The shenanigans that the remaining cousin pulls would never have flown with a Vietnam-era Marine Corps. He does anything to get out of duty - a total pogue.

Anyone doing the shit that he does would've been drummed out of the service back in the day - also, all of the vets who came up with the phrase "Eat the apple, toss the core, I don't work for you no more", etc, etc.

Training isn't nearly as harsh as it was even back when I joined the Army in the late '90s, and when I reclassed in '01, it was even easier. Ask some of your corpsmates who've been in for 20+ how much easier it's gotten, I'm sure you'll get a few responses that might surprise you.

Oh, also - add in the overwhelming increase in head cases compared to Vietnam as well. There's another decent indicator. If you're not stressed in training, then when you get piled into The Suck, the stress overwhelms you and fucks about with your head.

Either way, this probably isn't the right thread for this discussion, so I'll end it here.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Brekkie » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:22 pm

Wuuuuuuut?

I'm just gonna leave this one here:
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The Corps in Vietnam was a hell-hole, as any of the vets will tell you. Training was short-to-nonexistant (which even then was an improvement from Korea, during which many Marines were sent directly to the front without ever having even gone to Boot Camp). The first issue of M16A1s were terrible to the point where Marines sometimes picked up and used captured AKs. And because the Corps was so rapidly expanded due to increased manpower needs, they found themselves with a massive shortage of NCOs and company-grade Officers, resulting in them basically promoting up everyone who had been in already to fill the void, regardless of leadership ability, and then putting them in charge of disgruntled, undisciplined draftees.

Throughout the Vietnam war, the killing of unpopular and reckless Commanding Officers by their own troops staging a seemingly "accidental" fragmentation grenade detonation (known as "fragging") was reportedly common.
There are documented cases of at least 230 American officers killed by their own troops, and as many as 1,400 other officers' deaths could not be explained. Between 1970 and 1971 alone, there were 363 cases of "assault with explosive devices" against officers in Vietnam.
Underground GI newspapers sometimes even offered bounties on the heads of extremely unpopular officers by their units.

Many units which became isolated in the jungle were known to go "feral", collecting ears and scalps of fallen enemies as trophies, a fact which haunts unit histories to this day.

And the only difference between training today and training of yesteryear (besides the fact that it is LONGER, with a more intense schedule today), is the fact that Drill Instructors are no longer permitted to physically beat you. At least overtly. We still get beat. We just call it "impromptu martial arts training" now.

I'm an NCO, I've seen some shit in my day. I know what we can and can't get away with. Especially with the public's eye on us as much as it is now. And in no way is discipline today somehow more lax than in Vietnam... of all times.

And all that is assuming by "declined" you meant in regards to discipline.
If you meant in terms of decreased warfighting ability, my guffaw is even louder.

So I dunno what your POG cousin is telling you. But I call bullshit.


Oh, also - add in the overwhelming increase in head cases compared to Vietnam as well. There's another decent indicator. If you're not stressed in training, then when you get piled into The Suck, the stress overwhelms you and fucks about with your head.

This comment also disturbed me. You work in the medical field. I'd have expected better. Only recently have we as a society begun to recognize and come to terms with PTSD. You are comparing the number of diagnosis for a condition between a time when it is regularly acknowledged and treated, compared to a time when it's existence was denied and veterans were left to suck it up and figure it out for themselves. How is that a fair comparison? How can you try to draw correlations on the intensity of training today based on that?
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Fivelives » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:39 am

Brekkie, check your PMs - we can take this there. No sense in mucking up Nika's vacation thread with our military chatter, no?
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Candiru » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:14 pm

You can get the Eurostar train to London! Although, with only 7 days its maybe not worth it. Be careful on the Paris Metro, I got stung for 50euro as I dropped my tiny ticket stub ( which you only need to get INTO the station rather than out normally) late at night and there was a random inspector wanting to see everyone's stubs on the way out at the station where I was staying. I had a huge stack of used ones from other days, and a stack of unused ones for future use, but not the one that was stamped for that evening, so the officious inspector girl fined me.

So make sure you don't lose them when you are travelling, as the one time you do you might get randomly fined!
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Ironshield » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:40 pm

Don't waste Paris time visiting London. Paris is much prettier.

I had a nice list of suggestions but I'll have to dig out my old emails when I'm on a PC, but just wanted to say, Musee d'Orsay is a must, as well as all the other suggestions here. Sacred coure and the surrounding area is lovely as mentioned. And don't spurn the touristy bits, they're touristy for a reason. Notre Dame BLEW MY MIND the first time I saw it, but I'm a real sucker for churches. And Versailles is phenomenal. Mind blowingly extravagant.

I really want to go back to Paris now...
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:59 am

Why is it when you ask for travel tips to a particular city, everyone starts suggesting you visit other countries instead... to clarify... we're visiting Paris and not leaving France.

Plus, I've been to London and various other cities in England many times as my ex was English.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Cogglamp » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:54 am

Sorry, I was bored this weekend and tried to look up some things to do.

Look into using Velib (Paris' bike sharing program). It will certainly help out on days where you plan to meander all through town.

If you're on a budget, NatGeo has a great list of attractions that are free.

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/tr ... -traveler/

Yes, many are touristy but being a tourist in Paris is different than being a tourist in LA. There are also a lot of gems in that list.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Hrobertgar » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:13 pm

That metal thingy, the Eiffel Tower, its pretty at night....

The pyramid entrance to the Louvre is sort of cool to see, even if you aren't interested in old, peeling paint or scultures. Actually I think they have an old Roman floor in there without a propper railing surrounding it, almost like someone could accidentally step on it.... (That may be a different museum too though)

Also, you can take the train/subway to Versailles. While there the fountains only run like 15mins every hour or something. There is a tour office accross the street from the train station to arrange a guided tour if you are interested.

Stay away from the soccer stadium, lot of pickpockets and riot police.

Walk down the maindrag - Chaunzeleeze or whatver, and visit the nice Arch du Triomph.

Be carefull about watching movies with the locals, they do not seem to appreciate the same things we do.

Eat Crepes from street vendors as they do not have hot-dogs/pretzels/burgers. Nutella Crepe is popular.

There are various old church buildings/cathedrals and such.

You can also take a nice walk down the Sene and over some of the bridges. There is one particular bridge that people put bike locks on, that seems to be big for friends/couples.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Nikachelle » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:10 am

Hrobertgar wrote:Walk down the maindrag - Chaunzeleeze or whatver, and visit the nice Arch du Triomph.

LOL! You mean Champs-Élysées I suppose?

Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I'm keeping a running list and trying to schedule most everything in that appeals to us.
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Re: Visiting Paris (and surrounding area) - Need suggestions

Postby Hrobertgar » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:54 pm

LOL! You mean Champs-Élysées I suppose?


Ne je parle Frances, but I do the best that I can. Gesturing and saying place name like Versailles or Notre Dame can actually get you pretty far when you are desperate. :lol:
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