This past weekend, my new friend Lexi and I went on our first excursion out of Spain to Paris, France. Paris (surprisingly, I suppose, given its popularity) was never at the top of my list of “must-see cities,” but it was the cheapest flight out of Spain on short notice, and I was itching for some adventure. So, we took our carry-ons to the airport and boarded a plane out of Sevilla before sunrise (read about my struggle to get a cab there in my previous post) to the City of Love.
I should start off by saying that I am writing this in bed at 6:30pm because my trip decided to stay with me a little longer in the form of a lovely and persistent cold. I checked the weather before departing and it seemed to be somewhat mild, so I packed a few sweaters and a flannel, but I guess I failed to realize that I was used to the constant and unrelenting heat of Sevilla, and that 60 degrees feels a lot colder when you’re accustomed to averages of 90. Therefore, I ended up wearing every article of clothing in my suitcase at once to keep warm, and still managed to get sick from the dreary Parisian climate.
We didn’t let a little chill stop us from enjoying our time, though. In addition to visiting staple landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, we happened to be in Paris the first day the Louvre started to offer free admittance on the first Sunday of every month. The line and crowd was hellish, of course, but hey, free is free. The Mona Lisa says hi.
Lexi and I made it our mission to try every typical French food we could get our hands on (people literally walked through the street with baguettes in hand like it was a cup of coffee. These are my kind of people). This proved to be a bit of a challenge when we ended up scouring the streets of Paris in search for some frog legs, but we eventually landed upon the lovely neighborhood of Montmartre (fun fact: the neighborhood was once home to some of the most famous artists of the world, including Dalí, Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh) and struck gold at a little restaurant with big open windows that let in the smoky night air. The food sampled by Lexi and I during our trip included but was not limited to: escargot, French onion soup (just called “onion soup” in France, because it is a given that it is French), creme brûlée, frog legs, and macaroons. The frog legs didn’t taste as fishy as I expected them to–more like less flavorful chicken. And god, were they expensive. But if you ask me, the best part of traveling is trying all the food that America tries to rip off from that country.
I had wondered what it would be like to interact with the French people, considering their fairly widely known stereotype of being rude and arrogant towards foreigners. While I didn’t find that to be the case with the majority of the people we interacted with, who were very friendly and sympathetic, we did get snubbed rather haughtily by a Parisian boy at a kabob restaurant for our “lack of effort to speak the French language,” to which Lexi responded to with a curt and extremely appropriate “well, screw you.”
While Paris was definitely charming in its own way, I couldn’t see myself ever living there, like I can in Sevilla. Maybe I am just more easily allured by smaller, quainter cities. Or maybe the omnipresent sun of Sevilla has made it difficult for me to sustain myself under a grey sky. Either way, I enjoyed my first “vacation” (I put that in quotations because when you live in Sevilla, do you ever really need a vacation?), and I am looking forward to my next one. Copenhagen, anyone?