This past weekend was spent in a flurry of customs and French bread. Through my study abroad program, I booked my spot to attend Paris, France for two nights, three days and it was a jam-packed weekend. What felt more like only 24 hours, we did so much, hardly slept, and were constantly on the move to see more sights, eat more things, and take more pictures. We started off the weekend on Friday by taking the Eurostar train under the Chunnel and into Paris. We arrived an hour ahead difference and into bitter air, while we walked our suitcases across the French sidewalks and up to a trendy, young hotel. Soon after, we were escorted through the underground system and out towards Pont Neuf (New Bridge, which is ironic because it is the oldest bridge in Paris), where we boarded a boat and set off down the Seine. Saturday brought a sightseeing tour on a bus with an excellent tour guide and ending at the famous Louvre. After that I ate at a Haagen-Dazs restaurant with my friend and proceeded to take a well deserved nap before hitting an amazing restaurant right next to the hotel where I got duck and a cheese plate. We walked around Paris that night, searching for the Eiffel Tower, only to chicken out because of the cold. Sunday, the last day, allowed us to travel on the metro to Versailles, where we visited the all gold palace and explored the gardens. We couldn’t do much that day because as soon as we got to exploring, it felt like we had to leave. So, in conclusion, here are some things that I learned from my trip::
1) The French are actually rude. Now, I had always assumed that this was an over-exaggeration made by people who couldn’t take criticism, and I know that I am selling out the 12 million other Parisians and French people that I didn’t get to interact with, but the ones that I did, did not seem to like us. On the boat, the tour guide kept speaking into the microphone telling us “americans” that we were being embarrassing with our noise levels.
2) Two days is totally not enough time. This can apply to any place I am going to visit for just a weekend. Two days simply is not enough time to spend in a new city that is as exciting as Paris. We had activity after activity and were already waking up so early every morning to attend them and yet, we still didn’t get to do even close to all the things we wanted to do. I didn’t get to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I didn’t get to visit the countryside, I didn’t get to make my way up Notre Dame, and more.
3) It is really freaking cold. One friend assumed that since Paris is south of us here in London, therefore it must be warmer. He was brutally wrong. And when I broke my jacket on the second day (don’t worry, I ended up fixing it), I was sure that I was doomed to hypothermia. My suggestion is to travel to Paris in the summer when sundresses and cute hats are more acceptable.
4) You won’t eat crepes and baguettes all the time. This was super disappointing. I thought that every meal was going to consist of amazing French bread. It didn’t.
5) Paris is actually kind of sketchy. Perhaps this is because it seemed like we only ventured out at night, and whenever we left the hotel we were told to take safety precautions about our purses and pockets. Friends were pit-pocketed, there were signs and people walking too close to you. It might also be because I have been so accustomed to living in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in London, where I can walk home alone at night freely. But I would never do that in Paris. Even when walking with a group of friends at night, down by the river, we passed a group of teenagers who looked scarier than anyone I had seen in London thus far.
If I think of anything else, I will add to this list. Perhaps if I go back to Paris at the end of my journey here. But for now, I bid Paris adieu.