So I’ve decided to write a travel blog.
Nope. Not what you’re thinking.
This is not a post about the grandness of the Eiffel or how beautiful the banks of the Seine are. Why? Cause that is mainstream and uninteresting. With its shady corners, buskers and magicians, pickpockets and crazy underground metro stations, Paris holds so much than just the monuments.
Here are some things I’ve learned while in France.
Seven years of learning French in school seemed futile when in France.
Like when I realised that “Rue Du Renne” (The Renne Street) is pronounced as “vuodoovenairrr” or when the ticket lady at the metro had to tell us the name of our final stop thrice (the third time being extremely slowly), and yet at the end I had to say thanks even though I still had no idea what she’d actually said.
The Eiffel’s shady side.
A blog about France and how can I not mention the Eiffel! Yes, it’s grand. And it’s this grandness that attracts tens of thousands of people to it every day. And it is these people who attract tens of thousand of pickpockets every day. I saw a man performing a small street show in ‘Champ De Mars.’ A very kind local lady warned me not to get too close cause turns out, it was not just the performer, but his entire gang was nearby. They would wait till you are engrossed in the show and jump at any opportunity to rob you of your money.
The Not So Namma Metro.
Imagine you are stuck in a giant labyrinth maze. Now, add in a few thousand extremely busy looking people rushing in and out of every possible direction. For added effects, plop in two or three buskers singing in shady corners and voila! You’ve got A Parisian Metro Station.
It took me quite some time and two or three wrong trips in the metro to figure the system out.
If you’ve ever heard that the French are rude, then you’ve probably heard right. Of the four cities I’ve been to in Europe, the French seemed the most unwelcoming. Like for instance, the lady on the third floor of our apartment who seemed to get annoyed at me for eating bananas on the ground floor. Or the many locals who appeared to give me the cold shoulder when asked for help. Although there were obvious instances of rudeness, some people treated me better than I imagined. There was a lady who helped me decipher the French on a ticketing machine in the metro and even volunteered to lead me all the way to the correct station.
Adorable miniature sized tiny small dogs everywhere
Paris is filled with them! Dogs in purses, dogs in jackets, dogs crossing roads, dogs in restaurants, dogs everywhere. And just for clarity, I’ve drawn a very accurate representation of how small the dogs are.
Croissants and Pain Au Chocolat is the most delicious thing you can eat in Paris
It’s all in the title. Just felt it was important that I mention this here.
Immigrants from India sell water bottles near the Eiffel
Talked to this man a bit and realized they find this much more profitable than working in India. On asking him more questions, he said that it’s easy to get a Schengen Visa for Portugal. Once they get that, they come to Paris and also apply for a permanent visa to sell water bottles!
Why I walked barefoot in the Louvre and about the Monalisa
Okay, let’s get to the point. The Monalisa is overrated. Before I talk about that, I feel the need to emphasize of how big of a museum the Louvre really is. If you stopped at every piece on display for just 30 seconds, it would take you 80 days straight to see all of them. We are talking 1920 hours! The Louvre involved more walking than I’d done in a week. So much that my feet hurt and I eventually had to carry my shoes in hand.
After a few hours of gazing in awe at the paintings in the Louvre, I decided to head towards the Monalisa. I was told that the Monalisa is at the end of the Leonardo Da Vinci corridor. On reaching the end, I entered into an immensely crowded hall; I saw no Monalisa. Decided to ask one of the guides and he pointed at a painting right in front of where I was. Looked something like this.
There it was. The Monalisa. Walked out of that hall feeling pretty accomplished with the photo I’d managed to capture of the painting. It was one that had a partial Monalisa face in the side frame, a quarter of the frame was covered by my own finger, and the remaining of it dominated by other people’s heads.
Overall, my experience of Paris was much better than I’d imagined. It truly is a beautiful city. So if you’ve made it till here, leave in comments and tell me what you think!