Thursday, April 16, 2015

London to France part 2: PARIS

Viva La France!

Aloha all! I had to do a separate post for Paris because I think this is the most well-known travel destination. And there are a lot of things I have to say about Paris.

I made a huge mistake about Paris before arriving - please don't do these things that I did.
1. Think you can see Paris in one day.
2. Think that everyone in Paris is rude or mean.
3. Think Paris is a dirty city - they have made lots of changes to care for their city but still watch out for the dog poop.

The reason why I chose to visit Paris in a day is because I had a misconception that Paris could be viewed in a day. NO! There is so many amazing things to see and do. Paris is not just the Eiffel Tower. Also I chose to take the Eurostar with my room mate because it is THE THING TO DO if going from London to Paris. First of all, it is a high technology and high speed train that goes underwater from the United Kingdom to Paris in just under two hours. I have never been on a train that goes under water before. Also it is so much more comfortable compared to the plane and a train station (King's Cross & St. Pancras) is 15 minutes walking distance from my flat in North Gower. I think the train tickets amounted to nearly $230-$250 round trip. A bit expensive and if you have a budget I suggest you take a plane for 30 pounds which might end up nearly being $50+expenses getting to the airport maybe 60$?

After the two hours train ride you arrive in Gare du Nord which is the main train station in Paris. All their major stations are known as Gare, I think. From then on you can take a metro to museums or other places. We chose to go to the Louvre museum to see the Mona Lisa because we thought it would have the longest line. Yep, we waited for 40 minutes. If you don't want to wait you can buy online tickets to avoid the line or enter through a shopping mall. This museum is massive and I could have spent all day viewing the art gallery. Of course since we had little time so we ended up walking to the Champ Elysees which is a street like Times Square - very touristy - BUT they have the famous macaroon bakery called Lauduree where one simply must get macaroons. Because they are so famous and well known it is quite expensive. I recommend just having high tea and a macaroon (coffee or tea with a macaroon). Next we went to the Eiffel Tower. I also recommend getting no line tickets. We waited too long to get tickets and didn't have time to go on top of the Eiffel tower (because you have to pay for the elevator) or walk the stairs which takes time...that we didn't have. There are champagne places and restaurants on the top of the eiffel tower. Also another extremely romantic thing to do.

About Paris: I did not think the people were rude at all. Every one was so helpful and nice. I found that if you said Bonjour and showed that you were trying to understand even just the tiniest amount of French they were way nicer than if you approached them saying, "Hi do you speak english?" My room mate kept doing this and their reaction to her was different from me speaking French. In other words they were more hesitant to help us when we approached them speaking English. Not because we were Americans but because English is there second language! *Tip: Words to know in French, "Bonjour" , "Pardon" (Excuse me), "Ou est? / Ou se trouve?" (Where is the..? Directions). "Je ne pas parles Francais/Francaise" (I do not speak french).

The reason why we travel is to break stereotypes. Traveling is not just for personal enjoyment or vacation but it is also another way to learn. Especially to learn about other people and cultures.  If you think what people say about Americans being rude is hurtful or mean or silly or stupid than what do you think about the stereotypes about French being rude? Anyways... I cannot speak for all French people. This is my experience alone but since I have travelled to France four times and have not had a rude experience...that is all I can say right?

Enjoy France and Au revior!

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