“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life” – Thomas Jefferson
After a week of cramming for midterms and writing essays, I was beyond prepared for my one week break from classes. Most people use this time to travel around Europe, to visit family and friends, or have their family and friend visit them. So I had mom come and visit and we decided to go to Paris. It was a pretty easy decision since I have learned about this place and studied the language for four years, how could I not jump at the opportunity. It was still so surreal that I was actually visiting a few of the places that were in my textbook.
After a 35 minute flight, I landed in a country that I had always dreamed about visiting. My first impressions of France were that it was extremely accommodating to English speaking visitors. This was my first time visiting a primarily non-English speaking country and I was happy to see that many of the signs were translated in English as well as French. One of the many highlights of my trip was when I was getting my border control, the man checking my passport asked ” Tu parles Francis?” and I nervously responded ” Un petit peu”, then he asked ” Comme ça où comme ça?” (inquiring if I spoke a tiny bit or French or a little bit more than a tiny bit of French). I replied ” Comme ça,” (indicating that I speak that tiniest amount of French) and he responded ” Oh no, tu parles très bien!” And I said “Merci” and walked away with the biggest, nerdiest smile on my face. Saying that I was hype is an understatement…
So, my mom, aunt, cousin, and I decided to stay right outside of Paris in an area called Montrouge. It was nice being able to leave the hustle and bustle of Paris and go to our hotel in the suburbs. We mostly used their buses and trains to get around, which was so convenient and easy to use. We visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Champs-Élysées. If the weather had been more cooperative we would have probably been able to see a lot more. But I finally got to try croque-monsieur! And somehow I forgot to try le steak frites (steak & French fries). Of course I indulged in some macaroons but I was so upset that I couldn’t find any madeleines.
Overall the trip to Paris was amazing, but it was a little different from what I expected. Everyone had told me that the Eiffel Tower was actually pretty ugly, but I disagree. Yes, it may just be a bunch of iron bars but it’s actually a really cool structure and to see it in person was definitely a one of a kind experience. Now the area around the Eiffel Tower was a bit ugly due to all of the construction. I was also a bit surprised with their public transportation system. I expected it to be very similar to that of London’s but it wasn’t as well kept, which was slightly disappointing. From this trip, I decided that I have to come back in the summer when the flowers have bloomed, the sun is out, and hopefully all of that construction near the Eiffel Tower will be completed. And maybe next time I can find those madeleines.