france was nice, and so was paris, but ultimately it was just a city. meaning you felt incredibly small while you were there, but it was still a nice place. you have to look past all the thousands of buildings, and the trash, and the weird porta-potties on the sidewalk that you have to pay to get into, and once you're inside you only have a certain amount of minutes before it kicks you out. you have to look past all the "citiness" and see what really makes it a city, and that's the people. the people truly make a city a city otherwise it's a just a bunch of bricks and cement. it's the people give it history, life, and warmth.
top of notre dame //
point zéro //
part of me wants to say my favorite part of europe was just riding the trains and metros because the people watching is so much fun, and every country's public transportation is so different. on the métro in paris everyone is extremely quietly. like unnervingly so. no one talks or smiles at each other, and the few people who do chat with their friend next to them do so in low voices. it was really relaxing. there was this girl who sat across from me on night and she was gorgeous. old hollywood movie star gorgeous. she had long, thick brown hair, dainty features, a big bulky scarf, and a gym bag. but it was her eyes that really got to you. they were big, round, and looked like the song "brown eyed girl" had been written after them. they were content, but sad. her mouth had the same set to it. sad, but stubborn and determined at the same time.
lock bridge crossing the seine //
in the metro......somewhere //
a different morning i sat across from two older women, who had burlap bags filled with groceries (yes, including baguettes) and they chatted rapidly in french, and i didn't understand a single word they said except they laughed like they'd been friends forever. that night i sat across from a woman in her seventies who was wearing a giant fur coat, red lipstick, and had her hair in a french twist. the next morning i sat across from two little girls who looked about ten, wearing matching uniforms on their way to school. later that night i sat across from an italian couple who sipped coffee while they chatted over their guidebook.
eiffel tower //
notre dame staircase //
people say that the french are rude and standoffish, but they're not that way at all. it's just that there are rules to their society that we don't quite get because they're not like ours. parisians don't smile at each other when they pass on the street. but if you ask them for directions they do everything they can to help you get to where you're going. they're quiet and they mind their own business, but if you talk to one of them they're really sweet, and kind.
all week long i tried to blend in, and not scream tourist, but cities are confusing and even with my sister's expert navigating skills we still got lost several times. so every single time i'd go up and say "parlez-vous anglais?" and if you got a "non" you said "merci" and asked the next person and if they said "yes, i do" then you were luck. well one day, towards the end of the week, i was walking back to our hotel when this really cute twenty something holding onto the hand of a five year old little girl with pink leggings and purple glasses stopped next to me and started asking me directions in french. guys. that was the highlight of my life. SHE THOUGHT I WAS A PARISIAN. the only problem was i don't speak french that well, and i don't know the streets of paris that well so i was really unhelpful. but to this day i still get excited over the fact that a french tourist though i was a parisian. i can't.