After I blew off all that steam, ate some porridge and watched clips of French films (hehe) I’m ready to discuss my beautiful four days in what I’m willing to bet is the most beautiful city in the world.
Oh Paris, where to begin? Perhaps with Sophie’s wonderful grandmother who housed us, fed us, gave us her films to watch, paid cab fare for us and even took us out to dinner our last night in France. We kept insisting that we could pay ourselves but she was so adamant about it and legit got angry when Sophie would refuse on behalf of us. (Sophie was our translator, well, everywhere.)
"She doesn’t get many visitors, so just let her do it because it makes her happy," Sophie told us.
She was an incredible woman and I loved her.
About the Sophie translator thing—we abused our poor friend’s bilingualism. (Is that a word?) hahaha, and it certainly entertained all the people around us. We were a unique group—two Americans, an Australian and a French girl. When standing outside the Notre Dame, waiting to go in, a woman kept looking back at us and smiling as we constantly asked, “Sophie, how do you say this? Sophie, what’s this in French?” Another couple was all out laughing as they looked on at us in amusement when we were out for lunch. Sophie kept going back and forth in English and French while ordering for all of us while we kept trying to clarify with her that we were going to be receiving the right thing. I don’t know if I could have had as much patience. But we certainly abused our privilege of being with a French speaking person in France. I was getting ice cream in the artsy area of Paris (twenty minute walk before it got sleazy in the Moulin Rouge area) when Sophie walked away for a second.
"Sophie, I need you!" I said.
"I understood what you said," Ice Cream man says. "I speak English too."
Sophie kept telling us, “Guys, I’m pretty sure more people speak English in these areas than French. You’ll be FINE.”
Especially at the Eiffel Towel, we kept beckoning Sophie to ask people to take pictures for us.
"You have a bigger chance of asking an American than a French person!" she kept saying. "Just say it in English!" hahaha, I love her.
So, our itinerary:
We arrived Thursday night. Friday night, we went to the Notre Dame, walked along the river outside it and just took a walk all through Paris really. We went outside the Louvre, had lunch, bought some food and ate it in the park (so relaxing) then took a stroll by the Arc de Triomphe. Oh, so um, everyone knows how I love James Franco. Amanda found his collection of short stories for 3 Euro. I bought it, only to realize that evening that…IT HAD HIS AUTOGRAPH IN IT. I couldn’t believe it was actually James Franco’s autograph, but I googled his autograph and it was the same. Is it a joke or is it for real?! It was the only English-language book too. Weird, weird, weird. Awesome, but weird.
SATURDAY was my favorite. We woke up very late—but took the train into the city and walked all through the artistic area of Paris where all the bohemians live. It was BEAUTIFULLLLLLL. I bought lovely postcards. The Moulin Rouge is in rather a skeevy area of Paris, I must say. A little Red Light District-esque. Then we went to the Eiffel Tower. We took the lift up all the way and the ride up was scarier than actually being on the very top. It was such good fun.
Sunday was Louvre day! We got on line at around 10 AM. A sign outside said the wait was 5 hours but it was only a bit under 3. I’d say 2 1/2 hours. All right, call me a bad tourist but I was a little let down by the Louvre. I honestly think the Met has a better collection. I did see the Mona Lisa though and you have to see the Mona Lisa, simply because it’s the Mona Lisa. I think the fact that the Louvre is HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEE and it was so hot and our feets and backs were aching intensely from having walked for hours on end over the previous days, detracted from my enjoyment. It was extremely crowded as well (first Sunday of the month is free) and people at the Mona Lisa were like paparazzi. You even had the ‘bodyguard’ telling people who had already taken a lot of pictures to go. “Move along! YOU! You’ve taken enough! Go! Go! You! Go!” It was crazy.
We decided we’d try and find a cheap film to split the cost of so we could have something relaxing to do that evening. Anneke, Amanda and I were extremely disappointed to find that French films in France do not have subtitles in any other language other than French. (It would say on the back of the box.) Sophie kept saying it was because it’s a French film in France; they wouldn’t expect anyone to need subtitles. But virtually every film back home is equipped with French, Spanish and English subtitles. Anyway, we ended up watching the last Indiana Jones at her grandmother’s house because we all could understand it.
Alas, my days in lovely Paris had to come to an end. : ( Cue the trip back to Norwich from HELL.
Paris, you were good to me and I enjoyed you very, very, very much.