A few days later, I was packing up to fly to Paris France. I was final slowing down and enjoying my vacation. The stresses of life had now been forgotten and I was in the airport waiting to board my flight to Paris. My stomach started to hurt, what had I eaten? Everything!(the voice in my head said) I was so sink in that airport, that when I heard the boarding call for my flight dread and alarm set in. Was this an omen for what was to come in Paris?
When I final felt a little better (Gravol), I ran to find my gate. The flight to Paris was great. The Air France flight crew were so entertaining. Then, I eat something on that plane that made me more optimistic about Paris. I had a ham and cheese sandwich and by God it was good. That was one of the best thing that I had eaten by far (next to Gelato of course). Hope was renewed.
The fastest way into Paris from Charles du Gaulle was by train. That year France was hosting the Euro Cup. Paris was crowded more so than usual by people from all over, which was very different from Venice. I would have to get off the train at Gare du Nord, not a very safe place according to Google maps directions. When I got to Gare du Nord it was crammed. Pick-pockets everywhere and I was a little intimidated by all the people around me. Hence, when I needed help finding my bus stop I was a hesitant.
Finally, I built up the courage to ask a young man for help, and he pointed me in the right direction. I was so overwhelmed by being around all these people that I didn’t believe that someone would take the time out of their day to help me. When I finally made it to my hotel, which was a huge disappointment. I was a little afraid to leave my hotel room. But once again I had to be brave (I was also very hungry). I yelped a restaurant close by and ventured out to find it. That was my Paris ice breaker, the people at the restaurant were lovely. They laugh at my dialect of French, not to be rude but just because it was new to them.
After my first day, the next couple days where filled with privet one on one walking tours and wonderful foods and very interesting people. Paris was nothing that I imaged but It was everything that I needed. Once I figured out the paste of the city I was able to blend in with their rhythm and all the while march to my own beat.
Try new foods
There are restaurants on ever block, you’ll always find something to eat. Try the street food they are delicious, warm crêpe for breakfast or a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Somethings might not be to your taste but try everything a least once. I went to Paris with my mind set on macaroons, I tried them and I really didn’t like them instead I fell in love with madeleine. I would never choose ham and cheese sandwich to have for lunch, but you know what I loved it. Don’t worry too much about how much food will cost, since there is something for every budget.
Take the time to look up
I know you might find this weird but Paris is a very old city. Therefore, within every arrondissement (borough) there is always new architecture to discover. Within most passage ways and hidden courtyard there is a new gargoyle or statue to discover. I took a privet walking tour from Métro Saint Paul and it was incredible. We walked for about 3 hours no breaks. Within the same borough of Paris, we discovered so much and I spent most of the tour looking up.
Bring your walking shoes
In Paris, the easiest and cheapest way to get around is by working. Pick a direction and go. The problem with that is if you’re not wearing the right footwear, this will not be a fun walk. I walked everywhere from the Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower. Trust and believe that with the right shoes your feet will thank you.
*You won’t be able to experience all that Paris as to offer in a few days. So, pick the boroughs that you really what to visit and explore.
Everyone speaks English
This a was a surprise to me that many people spoke English. I live in Montreal, Quebec which is a French province in Canada. Hence, french is a requirement in school. I thought that the fact that I spoke French would be a benefit to traveling to France but alas it was not. My french did not help me very much since I spoke a different dialect. So, here are some ice breaker tips:
Bonjour = Hello & Good bye
Toilet = Bathroom
Merci = Thank you
Pas de quoi = You’re welcome
Cola = Coke
*If you need to use the restroom in Paris you must buy something but if you can find a McDonalds it’s free. Also, the bathrooms at McDonalds are Coed (don’t be surprised – I was)
Weird request I know, since I’m writing about a city which has been compared to New York City, but trust me slow down. Paris is like a great glass of wine, don’t guzzle it down, sip it. Enjoy all the nuances and take time to appreciate it. I watched all the tour groups speed walk around all the monuments and hustled back to their buses to see the next one building (if that’s how you want to see Paris then to each his own). But if you really what to truly enjoy Paris stroll through that local park, sit on a bench in the Luxembourg gardens or grab a seat at a café and enjoy Paris.
Paris was a city not like any other. I found that Parisians have a lot of pride in their city and that made me fall in love with Paris even more. Not sure if I would ever return but It was a great experience.
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