I went to Paris, France as my last leg of this European trip. I spent 5 days there. I decided I would go to see Paris back in September of 2019. The last time I went to France was around 2006. I had such a bad experience with France that time. This time I tried to go with an open mind. I also used six months to learn some of the basics of the language. I am in no way conversational. I went to see a friend who I really enjoy talking to.
So the last time I was in France I had such a bad experience. There were several factors that contributed to my bad experience. First, it was my first time traveling to Europe, I mostly touristy things, like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Secondly, I didn’t speak the language, not even a little bit. Parisians are known for not being very nice to tourists. Let’s flip the perspective and see it in their eyes. If someone comes to your city and speaks another language, that’s not the official language of the country, how would react to them? I think the reaction is pretty universal.
Instead of going to see usual things I went to see the locations I wanted to see. I enjoy Rodin’s sculptures, so I went to his Museum. I really enjoyed the Tecahnical Museum in Prague, so I thought the Musee des Artes et Metiers would be cool. I enjoyed the models and architecture of old buildings. The movies I enjoy in Paris that I know of are Amelie, obviously, Before Sunrise, and Inglorious Basterds. I went to the bookstore in Before Sunset and I went to Brasserie in Inglorious Basterds.
I think that’s what makes me enjoy traveling more as I’m older. I cater traveling more to my interests and feelings. I try to see things and subjects that I have a general interest in. I keep returning to Europe because I find it’s history amazing. I also don’t try to rush so much activities in my day. I just try to enjoy myself and go into a book shop, and relax. If the weather was better I would be outside drawing all day. Here are a few of my sketches from Paris.
This time I learned enough to get by and see what I wanted to. I learned how to order food, coffee, and my check. I felt good that I achieved these small steps. I felt that I was received way better by the restaurants when I spoke french. The first time I went to Spain, ordering food and interacting with the language on a daily basis was the first step as well.
I think Paris is a great city to hang out in and take your time in. There are so many cafes and places to see. I did get to see my friend, if only for one night. There was a strike so traveling was difficult the entire time in Paris. She couldn’t hang out the second day. But through coincidence or serendipity I met a very Australian lawyer in Montmartre. I remember her henna tattoo from breakfast at the hostel. She was sitting at the same table I was sitting at. No one at the table was conversing except the Peruana and Espanola, which I was eavesdropping on the conversation. Fast forward to the afternoon and She was having a cafe and a smoke outside in front of the Sacre Coeur. We had really deep conversation about her countries history and politics. Later that night we met again at the hostel and had another conversation on life and 2019 over some beer and bar food.
Overall a good experience in Paris, France.