We were in Paris barely two days. Just enough time to see what we wanted, eat some bread and drink some wine. As most everyone spoke French and very limited English, I didn’t learn much about the people themselves. My observations were that Paris is expensive and its metro is confusing.
My experience involved ten miles of walking each day and a lot of gawking at old buildings.
With so much walking and attempting to avoid expensive meals, I stuffed croissants/french bread/crepes into my mouth at every chance.
After getting situated at our little Air BnB, Nic and I headed for the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t need directions considering it’s basically a beacon for the city. We were both impressed by how tall it stood when looking up from its base. We headed for a better vantage point that didn’t involve craning our necks and that’s when I started to like Paris just a little bit less.
For the third time in about five minutes, we were approached by a ‘vendor.’ Number one was an artist who “liked my style” and wanted to draw us for the child price, which was 35 Euros aka no thank you. We tried to break away and he followed, grabbing at my arm and smiling, forcing us to pick up speed.
Number two was fended off easily with a simple shake of the head.
Number three gets me riled up just writing this. He came at us with a string looped in a circle and instantly grabbed for Nic’s arm. He was saying nice things, but his hands were doing rude things. He put one hand on his wrist and the other on his elbow and quickly tied the string around his finger and began twisting. I kept walking, thinking the man would get the hint and release him. Then I was caught. This man grabbed my balled fist and pried open my fingers one by one while saying, “You are American! Be happy! Don’t be like Chinese. Be Happy!” First of all, I don’t know what the Chinese ever did to him and secondly, I’m never happy about having my personal space invaded. He began twisting and I stood still, hoping it would be over soon. Turns out they were making bracelets. Nic forcefully denied his and came to rescue me.
We continued our stroll, this time with our hands jammed into our pockets and our bitch faces on. We got our tourist pictures and got the hell out of there.
Day two also featured a mild disturbance, this time on our way to The Louvre. We were waiting to cross the street when a small woman started saying something that seemed important in French. She realized we were gringos and switched to chopped English, saying “Be careful! Pickpockets! Pickpockets! Gypsies!” and angrily gesturing to the other side of the street. Another man walked up and she warned him in French. We thanked her for the warning and pressed on, clutching our belongings. Just when we made it to the other side, she started yelling “Pickpockets! Pickpockets! Gypsies!” and pointing (I think) to a group of four gypsy-looking women. I’m not sure if the French woman had any hard evidence or just felt like calling some gypsies out, but we didn’t stick around to find out.
The Louvre itself was indescribable. You would have to spend days in there to see each and every thing. We were partial to seeing Ancient Greece, Roman, Medieval, Egyptian exhibits and of course, the Mona Lisa. The museum is so large that some rooms were void of visitors, despite the hour long wait to get in. The same didn’t hold true for the Mona Lisa, of course. People clamored, ourselves included, to get close enough to get a selfie with the rather underwhelming piece of art. There was a portrait 100x the size of the Mona Lisa hanging from the opposite wall. I reminded myself to do some research on why this piece of art is so famous in the first place. I apologize if this offends any art history majors.
I was more impressed by The Louvre itself, which was built in the 12th century and dedicated as a museum in the 1700’s (I actually did look this up). The ceiling in every room had something spectacular, whether it was gold crown molding or huge murals. I marveled at all of the marble and cringed at the creaking wood floors.
On the whole, Paris isn’t my favorite city. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking and hard for my American mind to comprehend, but I honestly didn’t feel very safe and everything was too expensive for my liking. I’m glad we saw what we did and I don’t regret a single carb.