What is Paris like?
November 15, 2016
by Stephanie Davis
I’m sure many people have pondered this question at one point or another. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but pictures don’t do it any justice. The beauty and wonder of Paris can create such a yearning in ones heart for travel and “the finer things in life.” Nothing can quench the curiosity quite as well as actually living there. Ill do my best to share all the juicy details of this trip. I was bestowed with a glorious opportunity from my school to study Linguistics and Education at the University of Paris-Dauphine, for a whole 6 months. It seems not even 6 months is long enough for everything I wish I could accomplish while living here.
The first and foremost thing on my mind are the Boulangeries, which is french for “bakeries”. Oh. My. Goodness. Not only are they absolutely to die for, but there is one on every corner. In Texas I can promise you we have some delicious pies and tarts, however the French know exactly what they’re doing. They have apple pastries that know exactly the dance your taste buds prefer. you can do is close your eyes and think wow. I go almost every single day to a different bakery before school starts, they are my weakness. I usually just grab a Pain au Chocolat, which is just chocolate bread, because a girl has to have her chocolate.Most of these pastries are simply 1.20€. Along with these bakeries are just as many coffee shops. Starbucks isn’t seen quite as often as quaint cafes with coffee nothing like American coffee. American coffee is weak and I can proudly say I’ve become a coffee addict. My favorite thing to do in the morning is rip just a little bit of my Pain au Chocolate and dip it into the foam of my coffee. Bon appetite!
Monuments and landmarks
Landmarks and history sites can seem very intriguing…because they are. A trip to Paris is simply incomplete without seeing things such as The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, The Catacombs, etc. I haven’t seen everything yet, but you can bet I will. Its a great chance to see something with Cultural significance as well as something bigger than yourself. When I see the Eiffel tower I see a strong symbol of hope and peace. When I visited the Louvre I saw the 600 years of culture and power. If you let it, the magnificence can humble you.
One of my favorite places to visit is good ol’ Shakespeare and Company. Books, blooks, glorious books! They have all the classics and then some. I did myself a favor and picked up a hardcover copy of Games & Thrones, for 13 euros! If Paris sounds scary because you don’t speak a lot of French, you can meet many native English speakers at this store. It can be relaxing being near people that you’re familiar with and ease that feeling of homesickness . Many nights they have people speak about their upcoming novels/ recently published novels. Its great exposure for writers and authors alike to speak about what they’ve been working on. Its quite interesting and only an hour. It wont take up your time; it only adds to the experience. Check out the cute Cafe they have as well. It’s some of the best fruit pie I’ve ever had.
Fruit Pie paired with Hot Cocoa
One con to living here is knowing minimal French. I wish I could speak to the locals about petting their dogs and make jokes to the cashiers but I can understand French better than I can speak it. It’s a bit frustrating because as much as I try to practice my French, Parisians can tell if your American as soon as you open your mouth. Then they speak their(actually not bad) English. Keep speaking in French! Let me learn your language! On top of that I’ve noticed that Parisians don’t like repeating themselves(which I can understand) but its quite obvious that I’m not French. If they repeated what they said just one more time just a tad slower I could probably understand it, in turn sharpening my listening/oral skills. Its hard learning another language and it takes time. However, its much harder to learn French in an environment where people don’t speak French. It’s better than learning French in America at least. My advice would be to learn as much as you can before you go with books /movies/songs/ and language training apps like Duolingo. Many Parisians are very good at speaking french, so if you are traveling here for a few days then you have no worries.
I’m not much of a party person but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been to a few clubs. Europeans know how to party. They will stay out at all hours of the night living it up in their favorite clubs. This sounds exciting in my town but here its normal. I have friends that party every weekend because they want to remember and love every single bit of their life. Its wonderful and exciting! You definitely need to come here if you’re a social butterfly!
Reading up on Paris before I went led me to believe that many people did not have good experiences here and that everyone was trying to mug you. I cant speak for those people, but everyone here is not a trained assassin. Keep your common sense and carry a cross body purse and you’ll be fine. In terms of safety its like any other big city. I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t seen a single gypsy, but I guess that’s good.
Paris will forever hold a piece of my heart because it’s very different from what I’m used to. Texas holds wide open skies and not much to do. Paris has very much to do but little space. It makes me realize that Europeans really do have a smaller comfort zone, but don’t worry they are kind. As for weather It gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer just like its supposed to. Bring clothes to party in and clothes designated to your season and you’ll be just fine! Just remember that paris vous aime!
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June 28, 2019
Loved your blog on Paris! (Can’t wait to go! You’ve encouraged me to want to go there even more.)
keep it up!
~A.O. From N.Y.