August 25, 2015

8 tips for falling in love with Paris

The only thing that has been more dragged out than my Euro-trip as a whole, is the four days spent in Paris. To say "I took too many pictures", is an understatement. To say "I can't let go of reminiscing about the splendor that is the City of Light", is just a fact. 

Can anyone really blame me for my infatuation with Paris? Anyone, other than those preposterous people who think Paris is smelly, rude, and overrated? I think not.

So here, despite my nostalgic attachment, is my final post on Paris: our last day and a few tips on how to not be one of the aforementioned, absurd Paris-haters. 

Tip #1: Eat crepes. Specifically, crepes loaded with chocolate and/or Nutella, because no one can sh*t-talk a country that is responsible for this kind of scrumptious treat.   

Tip #2: Wander the streets aimlessly. 

Paris is a metropolis, full of nooks and crannies. There are little subsets around every other block, full of new sights to see and atmospheres to soak in. 

There are also usually creperies around every corner, so if any particular tip isn't working, always refer back to #1. 

Chocolate fixes everything.  

Step #3: Shop. You're in Paris for Christ sake, you can't not shop.

If three poor backpackers can saunter into a few Parisian boutiques then so can you. You don't have to necessarily buy anything, just make sure to hold something leather and pretty. Okay, maybe try it on, because it's bound to make you feel every bit of the fabulous Parisian woman you've been coveting all week. Also, maybe buy it. If you're like Lindsey and think a hot pink leather purse will complete you (which it will), then buy it. You'll love it forever, and you'll always be able to say "oh this silly old thing? Ya, I got it in Paris." That's priceless. 

Tip #4: Sit in a park. 

This is a tip that actually encompasses almost any European city (especially, London), for they're all teaming with oases. Go find a beautiful space of greenery amongst the smelly fragrant urban streets, locate a bench, and plop down for a good sit. 

You can take a minute to appreciate that you're seated in a place that has survived over a thousand years of inhabitation. That's awesome, in the most literal sense of the word: "causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear". 

Tip #5: Hang out with some Parisians.

Now this tip can be a bit challenging, because it necessitates finding Parisians to befriend, but I have faith in the friendliness of travelers to be able to figure it out (and when all else fails is an excellent resource for making friends in a foreign place). 

If you're lucky enough, you'll be staying with an actual Parisian. In our case, it was Aunty Marion (who admitably was not Brooke's aunt, but a friend-of-a-relative-who-also-was-a-cousin-not-an-aunt or something obscure like that, so it was just much more easily summed up by calling her an aunt). Marion was kind enough to host us for few nights and I think we are all so glad she did, because she was, to say the least, intersting. 

I don't know many French people, so my deduction may be incorrect, but I think part of what was so fascinating about Aunty Marion was that she was, simply, so ParisianShe took us to get drinks with a friend, and somehow managed to look incredibly remarkable in linen pants, a creme leather jacket, and heels. I don't even know how she managed cobblestones in heels, but she did. 

So, I guess, if you can't fully succeed in Tip #5 by finding Parisians to drink rosé with for an evening, at least observe them, because there is a casual fabulousness to the culture that is just worth contemplating. 

Tip #6: Utilize & appreciate the public transportation. 

In the USA, with the exception of New York City, Washington D.C., and maybe a few other east coast cities, the public transit is rubbish. Particularly in California the transit is exceptionally inefficient. 

I never thought I could imagine living without a car, but if a metro system like the one in Paris was available, I might just consider it. 

Tip #7: Stalk up on supplies and dine along the Seine. 

(Tip #7a: Appreciate snazzy free flowing water fountains.) 

(Tip #7b: Don't forget the wine, because unlike silly USA laws, you can drink wherever you damn well please in France.) 

(Tip #7c: Contrary to what you may believe, you can, in fact, sustain on cured meats, cheese, baguettes, and wine for six weeks. The three of us are still alive, aren't we?) 

Picnics in general are a relaxed and delightful way to have a meal, but under the setting sun in Paris, along the Seine, surrounded by others partaking in the same kind of untroubled day's end, it is really quite a sublime experience.   

Tip #8: In regards to every new city you visit, follow the words of Andrew Zimmern:

"Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what's right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in."

Yours, Kenna

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