I originally wanted to do a vlog and update it while I was in France. Then I realized it was too much work, and I didn’t have any time to waste while I was there.
Then I wanted to edit all the footage I shot into a sort of delayed vlog, or a movie, or something. Then I realized the footage is mostly shitty, and still too much work for a lazy soul such as I.
So, despite it being 2.5 months later, I figure I must deal with my pictures and videos somehow, and it would be lovely to actually document my adventure since I didn’t write much in my journal when I was there, and I appear to have lost it anyway. That being said…
WELCOME TO FRANCE!
I flew with Air Transat, and luckily they had a direct flight. I know some people enjoy getting off of the plane for a few hours, but I honestly would rather just go straight there, unless the stopover is a couple of days long in somewhere awesome. I upgraded to Option Plus, which I thought was cool, mostly because of the free snacks. I’m not a person who enjoys much alcohol, so I kind of choked down the free sparkling wine at the beginning, which I accidentally spilled and had to mop up with my sleeve. Chocolate and chips, however, yes please!
It’s kind of amazing how things work. I had been talking about needing to go to France for the past year, and suddenly, an opportunity that I could not refuse came up. Landing in Charles de Gaulle, I couldn’t help feeling extremely content, not like I was coming home, but that I was getting closer. I had that feeling for the majority of the time I was in France.
We were shuttled off the plane to a tiny terminal with no one in it, and my luggage was one of the last ones to arrive, but I was absolutely stoked to be there. It wasn’t what I had been expecting, but that is the beauty about traveling.
I am not a planner. Whenever I make plans, they fall through, so I learned many years ago to just stop planning. Therefore, I did not plan ahead how I would actually get to the apartment from the airport. The lady I was going to be traveling with had mentioned that I could take the train straight from the airport, so I looked for some train signs and followed them to the station. I had absolutely no idea where in Paris I was actually going, but luckily there was free WiFi so I was able to look on Google Maps, because the information lady refused to acknowledge the existence of Rue Pecquay. I looked at the train map, made my best guess, and hopped on the train.
The first thing I noticed on the train was there was not a whole lot of French being spoken. This disappointed me because I really wanted to practice my French. I took Spanish in school, so I don’t know much French, but it is in my top 3 of languages to learn. Nevertheless, it was fascinating to see what France is actually like, and not necessarily how it is portrayed. I know a lot of foreigners assume things about Canada that are simply not true, and I recognized my own ignorance going into a new country.
When I got to my station, it seemed like forever to get above ground, and when I did, I had no idea where to go. Luckily, Paris has a lot of free WiFi throughout the city, so I was able to zoom in and out of my map and figure out where to go. Unfortunately, the street signs are really hard to find if you are not sure where to look, so I did accidentally pass the street I was supposed to turn on because I couldn’t find the street sign. I eventually made it to the apartment, and was warmly greeted by my travel mate and two members of her family. They wanted to go on a sunset tour along the Seine and asked me if I would like to join. Despite having been awake for over 30 hours straight, I gladly accepted on the condition that I could have a shower and change first.
Paris is a great walking and transit city, so we walked, and were greeted by a protest. Can’t go to France and not see a protest, right? At least that’s what people have told me since.
The cruise was a lovely way to begin the journey, and I was able to cross of the most obvious tourist item off my list: the Eiffel Tower. I don’t actually care whether or not I see famous tourist sites, but I’m not going to purposely avoid them. It is of course also nice to be able to say “Yep, I’ve seen that!”.
The ship had these little phone-like devices in whatever language you chose to listen to the guide, but my arm got tired and I stopped listening after a few minutes, and just took pictures and video instead.
We were apparently on the wrong side of the boat for pretty much all the narration, so I thought this random church was Notre Dame, and that the Louvre was the Musee d’Orsay. Regardless of me not connecting the correct things together, it was an absolutely beautiful evening and a splendid way to start the trip. After the cruise, I had my first crepe in France, and I almost melted with happiness. We waited until the tower did it’s little light show, and then headed back to the apartment. Someone I wasn’t tired, and I just wanted to keep exploring. I was already falling in love with Paris.