When my family told me that they were planning a trip to Europe, I can honestly say I wasn't all that excited to accompany them. Europe was not really high up on my list of places to go. Plus, I wasn't even sure they were going to commit to going. They've been known to flake out on a trip. However, once they started buying tickets and securing hotels I felt confident that they'd follow through.
Now, here's the thing about my family... they seem to enjoy the tourist scene. Me-- not so much. So, going into this trip I kinda knew what I was getting into. But since I figured it was going to be my first time, I didn't mind seeing the sites, except I wanted time to explore the city on my own, which never happened because I was inundated with a writing project, plus I just needed more time. I've learned that when I travel I like to take my time to move around and get a feel for a city, and this was no different. I definitely had a ball, nonetheless.
Needless to say, I'm planning to go back-- maybe next summer. You probably can't tell from most of the pics here, which were taken on my first full day out when the weather was reasonable, but it was actually scorching hot while we were there. I didn't take nearly as many pics as I would've liked. But next time I won't have to worry about rushing to set up shots and scout locations (another post for another day).
In spite of everything, Paris was kinda dope. Here are a few things I learned on my trip:
The wifi in the airport is trash (on the phone) in Orly (and CDG too, apparently). We could never get a decent signal. Which, of course was majorly problematic when I touched down and needed to call Uber. To make matters worse, my phone was dying and I had to buy one of those European converters, then hunt for an outlet in between asking every one who looked remotely friendly about my alternate transportation option. I knew I could've caught the train, which wouldn't have been ideal, especially because of the whole low battery situation, which because I couldn't sit still long enough to get a good charge because I was busy trying to figure out the best way to get myself to the hotel (whilst constantly refreshing wifi). After getting frustrated damn near to the point of tears because though the wifi was free in most places, I still couldn't log on. Plus, shops that had a code refused to share it (because it was free everywhere else, so why should they?). Thanks to a kindness of one of my beautiful brown sisters, together we decided the path of least resistance was to grab a cab. Oh, the relief I felt speeding down the highway-- and I didn't even have to give up an arm nor a leg to pay for it like I thought I would. 30 Euros was the max.-- completely on par with Uber.
Not all French people are rude. They might seem a little unbothered or dismissive of your issues, but I found if you attempt to greet them in French and asking if they speak English, before pummeling them with your questions, most are willing to help. In fact, on my first afternoon after the hold up at the airport, I was rushing to get to a café to jump online for work. After searching online and coming up mostly empty handed, I decided it was best to hit the streets and ask an actual person who lived there. My first choice was they front desk. I mean, they’re paid to be helpful. He had a suggestion, but his instructions were vague. So, I decided to ask a girl on the street.
And that turned out even better than expected. She not only walked me two whole blocks around the corner, in the opposite direction from where she was headed, but we also exchanged WhatsApp info!. She told me not to be offended by the French and their ways. And that they don’t mean and anything by it. Wise words I held close to me the whole trip, which helped my perspective immensely. I mean, seriously, how could anyone deny me? ME!! Of all people?! *Grabs ahold of ego* Sorry about that. Moving on...
The Food isn't as bad as they say it is. I think we really lucked up and found some great places. I'd been forewarned that the food in Paris wasn't so great, so I'd already tempered my expectations. We only really struck out maybe once. We were looking for this French Creole spot near St. Germain that apparently closed 5 years ago. It was hot and frustrating on the street, so we just plopped down anywhere. I ended up getting a waffle with apples and caramel sauce (technically a dessert on the menu). While it wasn't the worst waffle ever, the bitter caramel made it underwhelming. I'll do a follow up here on precisely where we ate, drank and made merriment. Since the former seems to be a point of contention.
The wine is as good as they say it is. If you're into wine, this IS your spot. My only wish is that we had more time and could've done a trip to Bordeaux or S. France to visit some wineries. My family and I spend a lot of time in Napa Valley, so that would've been right up our alley. I wasn't a part of the planning committee, so I guess I'll have something to look forward to next time. I didn't have any bad wine. Like, at all. Not one glass. Super impressed, because I either blindly chose my wine or relied on the recommendations of waitstaff. Regardless, it definitely worked out.
Love (or something) is in the air. I can definitely see why Paris has earned the reputation as the city of love. It's super heavy in the air. Like, the vibe is palpable. On my cab ride from the airport, the windows were down and it literally smelled fragrant in the air. I thought I was trippin', until we were biking around the Palace of Versailles and there it was again. You do seem to find bushes of jasmine and lavender around all over town, mixed in amongst against the cityscape. Plus, the French seem to love their flower markets and window sill flower gardens, so I guess it would make sense that is smells amazing in the air.
Though my time was brief and I didn't take nearly as many pics as I'd hoped to, I will come back, and maybe even pick up a couple of phrases for the next time.
Until then, cruise the 'Gram for more pics and whatnot not. Plus, stay tuned for Pt.2 Eat, Drink, Shop & See!