EUROPE,  Love Notes from France,  Travel

5 Things I Learned About Paris, In Paris

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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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!  

  4. 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

  5. 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.


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  • Monica

    You really inspire to visit Paris. Indeed eiffel tower is great capturing. Having climbed it three times I am ever ready to visit it again. Thanks for your tips and beautiful shots

    • Sydney Zaruba

      Thank you! That’s ever the goal- to inspire! There’s just an aura about the Eiffel Tower- I haven’t climbed it though, I opted to climb Notre Dame instead, so the Eiffel Tower could be in my photos (and I have a weird problem where I’m obsessed with climbing up church towers!)

  • Sophie Nadeau

    I lived in Paris last year and it’s totally true that Parisians aren’t rude! They’re only rude if you don’t make an effort to speak the language etc (I think I’d be annoyed if someone came to my country and refused to learn even a few basic ‘please’, ‘hello’ and ‘thank yous’ too!) the Eiffel Tower is so wonderful when it sparkles, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Punita Malhotra

    Having been to Paris thrice, I would have to agree with all your observations, except the first. Twice I encountered the situation where I was asked if I spoke French and I had to say a truthful ‘no’. Both times, they person who asked the question sneered / made a private joke that I did not understand. It was not just embarrassing, but insulting and rude. Of course, there were dozens of nice, helpful people too, so one cannot generalize.

    • Sydney Zaruba

      Well, there’s rude people everywhere- it might not really have anything to do with where they’re from…they just like to be jerks!! I guess that’s the interesting thing about travel, is how one place can leave so many different experiences on different people!

  • Haylee

    Love these little tips! Also enjoyed reading the perspective you give in your first point about rudeness. I’m hoping to make in to Paris by the end of the year, but I think after reading this I might try to brush up on some French before I do!

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    I do agree with you. We had a good experience in Paris, and the people were not rude at all. There are so many myths people associate with places and people which are not true. In a broader sense people are the same everywhere. Thre are good and bad people in all places.

  • Mike Clegg

    Definitely agree with the magical statement. I had some interesting customer service at restaurants during my visit. I’m sure many people would find it rude but I found it kind of funny. The waiters would ask what we wanted to order and then just walked off before we’d said anything. They would also give us bread from another table that had just left lol. Fun times. Definitely a great place to visit though.