Elegance. Romance. History. It was for these reasons that Paris has long been on the top of my travel list, and also the reasons I have put it off for so long. I felt that I needed a romantic travel partner, and enough budget to splurge on high class hotel and museum entrance fees. My friend, who backpacked with her sister through Europe in 2010, told me that once she was at a McDonalds in Paris, a couple sitting across from them started kissing in the middle of French Fries. “First they were kissing, then it becomes French!”. She and her sister rushed to finish their meal and left.
The truth is, in Paris, love is everywhere. On our first day, passing by Seine River, we saw a guy couple kissing under the bridge. Later that same day in metro, we saw a teenage girl couple wrapped their arm around each other, completely oblivious to their surroundings. It was hard not to feel the romance when you are in the middle of elegant historic buildings and sparkling Eiffel Tower. Love is always in the air.
Paris is not all glamorous, however, as we found in our four-day trip. The underground smelt like homeless people and pee. We couldn’t sit outside for more than five minutes without smelling cigarettes. There were dog poos everywhere. But this is also what adds authenticity to the city. Otherwise, it’s just too good to be true.
What surprised us is the helpfulness of the people in France. We had heard a lot about the stereotypes of rude French and their unwillingness to speak English, but we found this to be untrue. Twice when we stopped to look at the map, locals asked us (in English!) if we needed help and pointed us to the right direction. When we bought our Museum pass at the tourist office near Versailles, the salesgirl took her time to figure out which one was the best value for us. The Parisian were kind to us clueless tourists.
Four short days in Paris. Of course we didn’t see it all, not even all the touristy places, but we were able to see enough to know that we would like to come back some day. Please see my posts:
- Glamour and History: Versailles
- Louvre to the Untrained Eyes
- Romantic skyline: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Sacred Coeur
- Last Day in Paris: Museum Hopping
- Vintage Paris: Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel
- Paris to Athens: Our Whirlwind Itinerary