My first trip to France and I realised some very important things. Some of my preconceived notions about the French stood corrected, but most of all, I realised that all the hype around Paris being this amazing (and the most romantic) city is, in fact, justified.
Here are some of the things I learned:
1. The French are not rude. They are just amused! By our stupidity perhaps, or our clumsiness with their language, or just our general lack of je ne sais quoi that we will never have but most french people are born with. In fact, everyone greets you with a Bonjour or Bonsoir wherever you go, and usually with a smile. Can’t say that kind of etiquette exists in a lot of countries I’ve been to.
2. The French are very proud of who they are. And, unlike where I come from or many other 2nd or 3rd world countries in the world, they do not think that speaking “English” makes you better or more educated. They KNOW that as a language French is far more complex, superior and expressive than English will ever be, and the French culture/cities is/are what inspired some of the greatest works of art the world has produced by some of the greatest artists of all time. If that isn’t something one should take pride in, I don’t know what is.
3. The French admire artists, as much as they admire scientists. There will never be a scene in a French family where the parents will throw a fit if their child does not want to become a doctor or an engineer but instead prefers to draw, or play music, or paint, or be a bawarchi aka chef. Every profession is considered an art form. A way to create something unique. And they have equal respect for a man who designs an Airbus A380 as one who designs the Fall/Winter collection at Chanel.
4.Here, a meal is not complete without wine. Unless it’s breakfast. Then it’s okay. I say bravo! I’m with you France. 🙂
5. People-watching is a way of life – sitting by the roadside watching people while you have a meal or a drink or a coffee, it’s just a way of life. Nothing abnormal or weird about it. I love doing this any way so in Paris I was all the more happy because I fit right in. 🙂
6. French men are not effeminate. Seriously, I think whoever came up with that one was just plain jealous. I looked… everywhere I went I looked… and all I saw were impeccably dressed, very stylish, mostly handsome, and extremely chivalrous men. AND they know their food and their wines. I say French men 1 – World 0.
7. French women know what looks good on them. It seems like they wake up perfectly styled. And mind you, young, old alike… the women know how to take care of themselves, know what makes them look good, and they stick to their style once they’ve found it. And I’m guessing they find it very early in their lives. Honestly, I don’t know if French girls every go through the awkward, gawky teenager phase at all.
8. Music, art, food, wine, pastries, parks, trees, greenery, long walks – all the good things in life that I love, you can get here. And if you don’t care much for this stuff, don’t go to Paris.
9. They know how to light up their buildings at night. Rest of the world, please learn something. Seriously, I live in Dubai and I can say that some of the grandest modern structures of the world exist here but they stand no chance against the Eiffel Tower or the Church of Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur or the Louvre or any of the other magnificent old buildings or bridges that the Parisians take pride in. It’s the beautiful, warm yellow lighting.. it makes the city so much more…cosier.. like a warm blanket 🙂 … so much more romantic. (Yellow light people. Kill the while light. At home, on the roads, everywhere. It sucks the warmth out of a place).
10. French Rap is actually a thing. And it’s quite good! One of my Uber drivers played a few songs for me, I liked!
11. In France, you never have to ask for extra cheese. 🙂
So, as intimidated as I was at first going to Paris by myself (not because I’m not used to traveling alone or haven’t been to a place where I don’t speak the local language, but because it was PARIS, and it was FRENCH…and I was worried about how I would get to a place I wanted to go to if I couldn’t even pronounce it’s name!), I can say that I truly, and thoroughly enjoyed my 48 hours there.
Paris is almost overwhelming, and it made me feel happy, awed and exhilarated as very few places in the world have made me feel. Yes, Paris is for lovers. But when you go there by yourself, the city doesn’t give you a chance to feel alone. 🙂
To end, here’s my favourite shot… the Eiffel Tower with the full moon. 🙂
Je t’aime Paris. I will be back 🙂