I really want to go back to Paris. I learned though that I'd do things a little differently next time:
- I'd want to go for longer than 3 days so that I could sit longer at cafes and parks and not feel pressured to get a move on and see more!
- I'd invest in a small but nice point-and-shoot style camera with manual controls and I'd only carry that and my wallet.
- I'd learn some basic French
- I'd splurge the extra money on a cab to and from the airport
- I wouldn't go with a non coffee drinker (haha - sorry Chelsey!)
What they say about Parisians is true: they are rude. And it may not be that they are actually rude, but rather more aloof and short, which can seem rude. Twice we had street vendors get mad at us for taking photos (see crepes below) and they apparently appreciate you at least trying to speak French, but most the time I felt they were more annoyed when you'd try and it sounded terrible so they'd start speaking English very passive aggressively instead. Oh well! Chelsey and I just chalked it up to being part of the experience. I have to say though, that my first few hours in Paris were not impressionable. My neck, back, and feet were hurting from carrying my camera and extra lenses for 10 days in England and for wearing heels to the wedding just days before. Getting from the airport, through the subway stairs, and up steep streets in Paris with all of my luggage was exhausting, not to mention we couldn't find our Air B&B apartment, I was hangry, and everything smelled like pee or cigarette smoke. I was overwhelmed by not speaking the language too. By day two things started to get better and by day three I didn't want to leave.
I took my camera and an extra lens on day one, but on day two just as we were about to go out the door for another full day of wandering and walking (SO MUCH WALKING) my sister suggested I leave my camera at the apartment and just take my iphone camera instead. (gasp!) My first thought was that she was crazy. How often does a photographer get the chance to wander the streets of Paris? But then I considered my aching neck and my head that I could barely turn sideways. I put my camera bag down, put only the essentials in my jacket pockets and went out the door. It was the best decision I could have ever made. Although I am bummed that some of the most beautiful things we saw were on that day, I loved how lightweight I felt, and took pictures more freely because my iphone was more inconspicuous. I'll share the iphone photos on a separate post soon!
Side note: This is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Despite the exaggerated haze from pollution, the architecture was absolutely stunning and unlike anywhere I have ever been. The romance this city is known for was definitely there too. It took me a couple of days to feel it, but once I did it wouldn't go away. There's something incredibly romantic in the oldness of the buildings and the way everyone sits on street-side cafes at any time of day drinking coffee as if time has stopped. We picked Paris for our side trip because it was easy to get in and out of, and the chances of going anywhere in early March could mean cold weather and rain. With Paris, there are endless cafes and museums to hide in if the weather was shitty. Lucky for us, weather was on our side and we had sunshine the entire trip!