As I have mentioned in several posts, and on all sorts of social media platforms-I am not a big city person. I love visiting them and appreciate them for what they are, but I know that I could never live in NYC or Rome. I thrive in smaller towns, like Florence, where I can know all the ins and outs, and learn everyone's name. Which is why I was so dern-tootin' surprised when I fell in L O V E with Paris. Seriously! My expectations were to see the city and appreciate it's antiquity, the history, and whatever the French culture was going to give me. Paris, my friends, holds some serious charm, and it gets you hooked. I didn't want to leave, and I found myself slowly understanding why there are so many movies, plays, books, songs, (the list goes on), about this fantastic town.
Here are 5 things I learned about Paris, while in Paris.
Parisians aren't actually that rude.
Of course, there was a lady I nearly had to knock out on the subway who practically sat on me with all my luggage even though there were 5 OTHER SEATS AROUND ME (personal space people)- the French were nothing but lovely to me. Now, maybe this is because I am a young woman traveling alone, dressed nice, and not seeking out attention. Maybe that has something to do with it, but I don't think it's all of it. From what I gathered, the Parisians have a disdain for stupidity- as I did see them be rude to many other people who asked just plain dumb questions.
They aren't offended when you can't speak their language, though they will address you in it to begin with instead of English. Now, this may come as a shock to some, but I do believe that is because THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF FRANCE IS FRENCH. Just because someone speaks to you in French does not make them stuck up, do you guess at everyone's language in America and try and speak it? No. I found most French were shocked I did not speak their language, but they did not look down at me for it, nor were they rude.
I'm not sure if this rude Parisian thing is true or not...if everyone says it, there must lay some truth behind it, yes?- but from my observations, they were just dandy. Minus subway lady. Next time I go to Paris though, I will update you on the rude factor.
The language is beautiful to listen to, and knowing another romance language does not help anything.
I found myself listening to the subway call out the names of the stops, or eaves drop onthe people around me, just to try and learn some of the phonetics of the language so even reading it would make more sense. Knowing Italian hindered my pronunciation of the language, though it did help in reading directions, menus, and such. But for both being romance languages, the pronunciation could not be more different. It's beautiful, though as my dad says, when in doubt, just pronounce it like a drunk Jack Sparrow. It worked, most of the time.
The food is love or hate.
And I loved it! From escargot, to crepes, and of course BRIE, I find French food delicious in it's own way. It's not heavy, like Italian, or spicy like Spanish food, both of which I also love, but it's elegant and sits at just the right place in the stomach. French wine is as delicious as expected, and though, I must admit, the food can be a bit stuffy- that's all a part of the culture. Bon appetit!
You follow the crosswalks, but not the go or stop indicators.
For the love of God, if you don't know the city and you don't follow the crosswalk lines, you WILL DIE. Following the light indicators is not necessary though. When you have such a heavily populated town, and ancient roads, with no markings, play it the safe way and find the cross walk, otherwise your stay in Paris much have an unfortunate extension due to injuries that lead to the hospital. Avoid the maniac drivers, and save yourself a waffle full of trouble. #CrosswalksFTW
Paris really is that magical.
Seasoned and raw travelers alike find themselves falling in love with Paris, time and time again. Walking down the street, wandering towards somewhere to find lunch, I saw the Eiffel Tower stick out from behind a building- my heart started pounding and I immediately changed course- a new spring in my step. I round a corner and BAM, there she is, standing over Paris in full glory, as I just stand in awe. No stranger to amazing sights, there is something about Paris that captivates uniquely than any other city I have traveled. The city is enchanted from end to end, with each street, building, nook and cranny imbued in it's own unique flavor. It's simply stunning. Something which isn't tangible, until you experience it firsthand.
Have I convinced you to go to Paris? Check out my 3 Day Itinerary to help you plan your trip!