I’ve always fantasized about strolling along the cobblestone streets, eat baguette by the river Seine, marvel at the countless sculptures of the famous “City of Lights”, Paris! Long have I waited for the moment to set my foot on this lovely city. And just before my trip, the mere thought of flying off to Paris had left me sleepless. Paris, being one of the most visited cities in the world, I expected nothing less. I couldn’t wait to find out if this city was indeed as magical and as enchanting as what they described it to be.
My trip to Paris (as in the plane ride) had not exactly been smooth. And the series of “unfortunate events” momentarily threw me off my initial excitement. But that’s a story for another time. It took me virtually half a day to figure out how to find and reach my hotel, however I didn’t want to waste whatever is left of the day without taking my first glimpse at Paris. So as soon as I’ve dropped off my stuff at the hotel, I immediately took off to see the icon that Paris is so famous for, “La Tour Eiffel” (The Eiffel Tower)!
I remembered that exact moment when I first laid my eyes on the Eiffel Tower. It was that exact second when the train emerged from the tunnel. And just like in the movies, everything was in slow motion. I started hearing french accordion music playing in the background. I don’t know if it was just in my head or if there was indeed music playing somewhere, but that was probably the most cinematic moment of my life, so far. That’s when it truly sinked in. I came to realise, “Ahh..yes! I am in Paris!”
What were my first impressions of Paris? Well, not every corner is glitzy. But Paris has that inexplicable allure to it. Every alley crowded or dark never fails to intrigue. Each sight is a camera charmer, from the grandest of palaces down to the humbled trees of autumn. Even though Paris is considered one of the densely populated cities in the world, I was quite surprised to see how spacious the city was. The streets were wide, there were quite a number of large parks to stroll in and lots of squares and plazas to explore! There are many things to experience and discover in Paris. It’s as if Paris is an oasis in the middle of a big boring desert where art fanatics (like myself), wine connoisseurs, food critics and fashion aficionados swarm to quench an insatiable thirst for all things French!
Is it true that Parisians (or the French in general) people are rude or unaccomodating? I know that there have been rumors going around about the French people not being too friendly to tourists (especially if you’re an Asian). But My experience says otherwise (and I’m an Asian, lol!). A lot of the French people I’ve met in France, if not all, are actually quite friendly (some even too chatty!) What I have observed though is that a lot of them are not very comfortable speaking too much english. They can be quite impatient trying to make out of what you’re saying and trying to respond back in english as well. If you try speaking to them in french and when they know that you can at least understand a little bit of french, then they become a bit more welcoming.
When I first saw the train lines, I felt a bit intimidated. I thought, oh waw, it will be very easy to get lost. And I imagined that all the trains would be very packed. But surprisingly, it was so easy to take the trains once you get the hang of it. What’s even more surprising is that a lot of the train lines/stations (RER and Metro) are quite empty.
You may see the photos I took from Paris in this photo album.