Why My Trip to Paris Changed Me

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During my whole study abroad time here in the UK, I made it a goal to not only keep my grades in check and make new friends, but to also visit as many countries as I could before I had to forcefully go home. I haven’t made my blog posts about Germany, Luxembourg, or Scotland yet, even though I posted the pictures on Facebook. The reason I’m taking time out of my hectic schoolwork to write about Paris today though is pretty hilarious.

I think at this point Paris has been the most memorable due to the crazy subway issues we’ve had, the gypsy children we encountered that solved those said Metro issues, the fact that our friends got pickpocketted during the first day of the trip, the fact that I went to Disneyland before my 20th birthday and that’s super significant to me, and last but not least, the fact that our Airbnb was outta this world.

I’ll start with Disneyland. I didn’t even know Paris had a Disneyland until I saw pictures on Twitter. Of-course, the ticket prices were ten times cheaper than anywhere in America, so we HAD to go. The lines were super short (about 10 min each ride), the setting was completely identical to Disneyland and DisneyWorld, and it pretty much marked the end of my childhood since I turn 20 years old this week. Yikes. No more “teens” in my age. Fun fact though: The day I turned 18, I was also in Disneyland ( thanks to my friend Lindsey who invited me and some other friends for her own birthday which is in December ). I literally turned 18 and became and adult at the place that children feel most at home. Kind of bittersweet. I was literally on Space Mountain when the clock turned 12am. Anywho, now I’m turning 20 and somehow I ended up in the Paris Disneyland. Pretty cool.

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The next thing to address is the Paris metro and why it was a complete nightmare. If you’ve been on/ heard of the NYC/London Metro, and you believe that navigating it/those are hard…wait until you visit Paris. I’ve never seen a more atrocious and disorganized public transport system in my life.I even planned for it and it still destroyed me. Nobody helps you. Nobody buys tickets. People and children jump the gates or fight to do so. People actually fight to use the free handicapped doors after people in wheelchairs use them. It was like being in the middle of a jungle. We ran into some French gypsy children, okay? Total sweethearts. No, I did not get my stuff stolen. No, they were not rude. All I know is that they were trying to help me, while also hoping to receive something in return. Before I could communicate fully with them, or even think about giving them something in return, an older one straight up busted the Metro gate open and let us in on the train to Versailles for free. I didn’t even understand what happened. Conclusion? They were awesome and I bought a train ticket for nothing.

As for Versailles, I loved it but we got so lost in the garden ( I had no clue it was over 5 miles long?) and actually lost a lot of our day time, so I feel like I need another trip there for sure in order to get the full experience. We were so behind schedule after getting lost for those 2 hours, that we didn’t even see the Mirror Room or the King’s Chambers. Therefore, another visit is a must.

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Now on to the Airbnb. Can I just say that I actually wanted to stay in this home more than I wanted to go visit Paris? I mean, do you see this place? Absolutely gorgeous, and for an extremely reasonable price. Tanner and I made the reservations for it in July, and I can safely say that it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Moreover, our host, Madame Muriel, gave us croissants, marmalade, and baguettes for breakfast every day we were there.  Can I also just mention that THERE WERE TWO PUPPIES WAITING FOR US AT HOME EVERY DAY ALSO? The tea cup Yorkie was my favorite.

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Next let’s discuss the fact that our friends decided to meet up with us at Disneyland the first day of Paris, since they had a different place to stay at then us. They also took a 10 hour bus to Paris rather than a plane, so we were on pretty different routes getting there. As soon as we met up, we were informed that they got pickpocketted. Great start to our Disneyland day. Of course, it happened with the Metro system.

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Last but not least, let me tell you about my PortaPotty (is that how you spell it?) issues and the giant excrement I stepped on. On the way to the Eiffel Tower (after we visited Laduree…aka where all my macaroon dreams came true), I really needed to use to restroom. I honestly thought I would have an accident, and we couldn’t find a bathroom anywhere, and we were already late with our schedule because of the whole spending an hour in the Metro trying to figure it out before the nice children helped us out. Luckily, or so I thought, I found a really technological PortaPotty and I was really happy. As soon as I stepped in, I screamed and ran right out because I saw things the human eyes should NEVER see. I’m still traumatized and I worked at a Circle K gas station and cleaned bathrooms there this summer, so you know what I saw was bad if I’m even comparing it.  I’m not even going to go into details. A bit later, I was lucky enough to step in a giant dog pooper. Lucky me! When we finally made it to the Eiffel Tower though, everything was a bit better. I still can’t believe I even saw the Eiffel Tower. #stillinshock

While walking around that area, we actually ran right smack into a televised protest about the Republic of Congo as well. You can see what this protest was about here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/20/494759648/protests-against-congos-president-turn-deadly

During this whole Paris trip, we also visited the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, and Le Louvre Museum of Art. I think the highlight of my trip was the Louvre though. Nothing beats expression through art, and nothing beats the Mona Lisa. Too classic and timeless. The next time I’m in Paris, I’m for sure dedicating a whole day to the Louvre and learning more about French culture. I might even eat a snail.

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Props to Tanman for taking this amazing Louvre picture of me. It took about 20 minutes of directing and yelling, but it was successful in the end.

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If you’ve made it this far in my blog post, I hope you enjoyed reading about my rad and crazy visit to Paris. I know I definitely learned a lot during the time I was there, and it only reinforced for me that my childhood is ending ( aka Disneyland will never be the same) and that patience is a trait I must always work on.  I will definitely remember these France experiences for life.

-Giulia 🙂

 

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