Saturday, April 10, 2010

April 9th, 2010 - Friday

Friday morning was my last morning in Paris. Even though I’ve been there for the last three days, I wanted to stay longer because I feel there is so much more to see. If I had more time, I would have spent more time at the Louvre, and also at Notre Dame. These two places were so crowded that it was nearly impossible to properly explore them.

Looking back, I think Spring break in Paris was a great choice. The trees are in bloom. The weather is just perfect to walk around. I think it is definitely one my favorite places in Europe. The hostel I stayed at was not in the center of town, thus not in touristic area. I liked it very much, especially because I got to get a sense of the real Paris with everyday people instead of being crowded by souvenir shops at every corner. However, if you don’t know French, it could be a pain to try to communicate with the locals. Fortunately, Mae and Cristina had me to translate and speak for them when they needed it. Overall, it felt nice to finally be after five years in a French-speaking country. I have missed that.

One thing I noticed about the city itself is that it is very diverse, population-wise. There, for the first time, I talked to a French-speaking Asian (that was cool). The city can easily be explored using the subway or ‘métro’. Like most main cities I’ve been to, for example Berlin, the subway system is easy to understand and follow. The French food is great. Their regular coffee, bread, dessert and croquet-monsieur (type of sandwich) are a must try if someone goes to France. In almost every corner, there is a pastry or ‘Pâtisserie’. They all look so good, smell so good, and are very inviting. My favorite one was right down the street from the hostel; I took some pictures of it. I tried one of their baguette sandwiches, dessert, and croissant. They were delicious!!

Overall, the French were very nice to us. I remember when we were looking for our hostel, some English-speaking people going to the same place were looking at a map, and a French cyclist stopped and asked them if they needed help. Even in a non-touristic area, the locals were telling us welcome or ‘Bienvenue’.


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