Monday, June 13, 2011
What I Learned When I Traveled to Paris, France
My friend Kellie over at On The Brink of Something Beautiful created a 52 Lists in 52 Weeks blog challenge in which she gives you a challenge and you try to write a top ten list with the challenge.
This week's challenge: What have YOU learned from a place you once visited? (Either another county or another state....or maybe even your own culture...)
Back in 2003, my mom, a close family friend, and myself were set for an adventure. I was without a job, without a boyfriend, without a LIFE and my mom knew that I was not feeling very Danielle like. "Would you like to go to Paris with me and Michael?" my mom quickly asked me and without a beat, I gave a resounding "YES!". Bags were packed, itineraries made, flights booked, apartment rented. We also found that the week we went to Paris, France was during a huge heat wave -- 104 degrees for 4 days of the trip. We did not care. Off we set. So here are the 10 Things I Learned While Visiting Paris, France
10) French people are not rude unless you are rude to them first. Parisians live by the old adage of "you get what you give out." If you are rude and loud to them, guess what?
9) As long as you try and speak French first, Parisians will be glad to go into English for you.
8) Soda is more expensive than WINE. Yes, France would rather you enjoy wine than fill up on a sugary drink.
7) Your meals are not all escargots and frog legs. I had the best chicken gnocchi in the restaurant at Musee D'Orsay, steak frites at least three times that week at this small bistro called Le' Curse, ham and cheese crepes, ice cream in the shape of a rose and I can go on and on. Whoever told you that French only eat snails and frog legs are severely mistaken.
6) Your neighbours will not yell at you or call the police if you have your windows open and blasting Jim Morrison, Metallica, Edith Piaf, Mozart, or any form of music you like.
5) Whether you like it or not, EVERYTHING closes at 2pm and you take a mid day nap. No if, ands, buts about it. The world stops at 2pm in Paris every day and you recharge. Restaurants and shops do not open back up until 5pm. Now if you do not feel like taking a nap, you can walk the gardens or the Champs Elysee and soak up the air and scenery but do not plan on shopping....
4) The entrances to the Metro make you feel like you constantly in an art gallery. I swear, the subway entrances in NYC are BORING after I came back from Paris. There was one entrance, I wish I had a picture, that was decked out in fairy lights. Another was filled with graffiti art. Every where you walked, there was ART. As well as the Metro stations being immaculately clean and the sidewalks hosed down with water EVERY DAY.
3) You learn to adjust to a life WITHOUT air conditioning. Most places in Paris, France did not have this luxury so I learned that drinking lots of water, taking three showers a day, and wearing loose fitting clothing will keep you just as cool as the air conditioning we love so much in America.
2) Dogs are permitted to go ANYWHERE they please and do not have to be deemed a "service" dog like you have to in NYC. Going out to dinner alone and you want to bring your dog with you? It is WELCOMED. In fact, most restaurants even have a DOG menu and will bring out a bowl of water to your dog.
1) You will learn what the words LAID BACK mean. Everything in Paris is so laid back, from the food to the shops to the gardens...they do not rush you, do not ask you every 5 minutes how everything is, and let you JUST BE. Late for the train? That's okay -- there are musicians down there to keep you entertained. Want to hang out in the cafe' of your choice reading for hours? Feel free. This was a big lesson for me when I visited Paris, France.
So now I implore you...What have YOU learned from a place you once visited? (Either another county or another state....or maybe even your own culture...)