Paris, Paris, Paris. What an amazing city. After spending three weeks hearing how much I wont like Paris because the people are stuck up and the city is dirty I am happy to report that Paris might just be added to the “favorite city” list. The city itself was astounding and don’t even get me started on how beautiful some of the people were, one stereotype about Paris that is true is the fact that no matter what socioeconomic class you are apart of, you dress well. And boy did they. But I am not a fashion blogger so all you need to know is that the people are gorgeous, nothing more and nothing less. I really want to talk about the city it self though, there are so many important historical monuments that reflect on different events through history. Whether you’re going to visit Notre Dame, the Louvre or Arch de Triumph you’re going to see a lot.
We were busy from the very minute we arrived, the train ride was rough to say the least after our final night in Toulouse where the whole crew went out with our good friend Elie. The trip from the train to our hotel was more annoying than anything; I don’t think they have figured out escalators in Paris yet so lugging a 57 pound suit case half way across the city was…a work out. But once we finally arrived everyone’s spirits lifted almost instantly.
Out of all the experiences we took part in during out stay in Paris I want to reflect on just a couple. First is Monet. Ok well that may not seem like an experience per say but it seems like everything I enjoyed the most he had a hand in. We visited his home in Giverny and what a place, I had no idea that he was such a passionate gardener. He seriously created one of the most elaborate landscapes I have ever seen; everything flowed almost poetically. But seeing the landscapes that he painted so many times over and walking through the same hallways that he did really took me away. A few days later we visited an art museum that featured a large number of his paintings and I would not have appreciated it nearly as much as I did if we had not visited his house first; where he found so much inspiration.
Now I want to talk about something that I think students sometimes lose sight of while on a study abroad. GET OUT AND MEET PEOPLE. I can not even tell you how tired we were some days because of all the traveling we did, but it never once stopped us from going out to dinner, a bar or for a walk around the city. Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, as long as it wasn’t across the city, we walked and if we had not walked I don’t think I would have had the same opinion of Paris. Yeah the street vendors can be kind of annoying sometimes and yes there are a lot of homeless people, but once you look past the small things the city and the people are magnificent. I could probably walk around Notre Dame and the Louvre all day if I had the opportunity. When people notice you’re not from Paris or even France for that matter they want to know what you’re doing in the city. I talked to so many different people and really had some incredible experiences just because I (hopefully) wasn’t walking around mean mugging people all day. The most important thing I’ve learned from this trip is to keep an open mind and don’t not talk to someone just because you’re afraid/embarrassed/shy. Get out there and be out going and act like you want to meet people because they want to meet you; and these people are like little keys that open doors to a whole other world that I would have never experienced without being a little outgoing and taking a chance on someone.
Don’t listen to the stereotypes of other countries, they will only taint your view of the world. You can never form an opinion of something unless you’ve actually been there and done it. If I would have listened to everything I heard about France I would have had an awful time; I had the time of my damn life on this trip! People in other countries want to meet you and they want to hear about your life, and believe me there are some incredible people out there.
Get out an experience life, take a chance, be outgoing and get off the stupid internet.
If this blog changes just one persons view of traveling it will have been a success.