The first time I went to Paris, it was with my step mother. Two girls, lost in the city, and when I say lost, I mean lost! We had absolutely no idea where we were going. However, as long as we could see the Seine or the Eiffel Tower, we were happy campers.
My first trip to Paris will always be remembered as an amazing time for me. I hit all the sites: Moulin Rouge, Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees, Notre Dame, Arc du Triumph. Saw the Museums: D’Orsay, the Louvre. The Louvre was fabulous, but in my opinion, the D’Orsay was phenomenal. If you love art, the impressionist artist museum is a little bit of heaven.
Kim (my step mother) and I spent every morning waking up early, site seeing all day, then enjoying the delicious French food at night. However, I knew something was missing. Paris was amazing, and as soon as I took my first step on the Cobblestone Street outside my hotel, I knew Paris would be my favorite European city; so far, it still is. Now that I am married, I know what was missing. When you go to Paris, it is fabulous and lives up to every ideal that every little girl has of this iconic city. However, you must go back to Paris with a lover!
Doing Paris is a must in one’s life time. However, it must be done twice. You must go on your own or with a friend. Hit all the sites, do what you want to do. SEE EVERYTHING. That way, when you go back the second time with your significant other, you can relax and just enjoy the city as it is meant to be experienced.
When I went back with my husband, Jayda, it was like nothing I had ever experienced when I went with my step mom. There wasn’t this sense of urgency to fit everything in.
The first thing Jayda and I did was head to the Champ Elysees to see the Arc de Triumph. My favorite thing to do in any city, is of course, EAT. The best way to discover a culture, is to eat the food.
Being in Paris with a lover is just amazing. Paris is not just a romantic city for women, but men as well. I suddenly found my husband opening doors for me and holding my hand while we crossed the street. Paris brings chivalry back into relationships. This was a pleasant surprise.
The first night Jayda and I took a boat cruise on the Seine, it was nice to see all the sights along the river lit up at night, while drinking delicious French red wine. We had a delicious 5 course meal as well. Ending in, Jayda's favorite, French cheeses.
Jayda and I wandered home to our marvellous hotel (very old, but very perfect in such an old city) full of wine and food. It was so nice to be able to enjoy Paris and our evening, without the stress of having to wake up really early the next morning to see more “sites”.
The next day, Jayda and I decided to walk along the river and eat Paris’s street food. Street food in Paris is not like street food in any other city. Street food in Paris is absolutely divine. My favorite, Jambon et Fromage Crepe. An amazing crepe filled with a ton of cheese and perfectly salted ham. Jayda always goes for the classic, nutella crepe. Still delicious, but still not my jambon et fromage crepe!
I can honestly say, that to this day I have had 2 unforgettable meals of my life. One was in Florence, and the other, was this one in Paris.
We were sat by the window, facing out over the city. We started out with red wine, my favorite. We were then bombarded with 3 different plates of food. Small portions, but absolutely divine. My favorite, was the Crème Brule for dessert. It was a tiny little pot of vanilla crème, sugar encrusted heaven. Jayda, went for the cheeses again. However, I can never pass up crème brule.
I still don't know if that dining experience was more about the food or just the fact I was on top of the Eiffel Tower enjoying my dinner with my husband celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary. Either way, it doesn't matter. One thing is for sure, I still dream in Creme Brule and Fromage et Jambon Crepes!
Being an American in Paris:
Everyone says how rude Parisians can be, however, I have typically found this not to be true. Until my second visit to Paris. I never found anyone to be rude, just getting irritated with Americans. The first time I went to Paris, trust me, I probably was that loud obnoxious American. This time, I have lived in England for a year, and was not used to hearing the American Accent or just being around Americans in general. The first thing I noticed in Paris was just how Americans thought they had to brag about everything. Their careers, where they have been so far on their European Holiday.
First off, you are speaking to a Parisian (or any European) who has probably been everywhere you have been to already, two times or more. Secondly, no one gets tips in Europe, so getting irritated for not having top notch service makes you look like an ignorant tourist. Lastly, discussing how much things have cost you does not matter. In Paris, the average Parisian gets 40 days paid holiday a year. So working their butt off to go on a 2 week vacation is not impressive.
The first café Jayda and I happened to go to on our trip had people from all around the world dining in it. For good reason, prime view of the Arc De Triumph on the Champ Elysees We sat next to a group of Americans, discussing and doing everything mentioned above. Which, therefore, made me a target for rude service, being American. I ordered my favorite, Croc Monsier. A delicious fancy grilled cheese (essentially). However, it is WAY more than that.
After I ordered the waiter simply asked, in quite a rude way, DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT?? I was appalled, being in France, why on earth would I eat French fries? Then I looked to my left, and there were the Americans, getting upset about how little portion of French fries they had received. At that moment, I had an out of body experience. I realized the reality and stigma being of being an American abroad. At that point, I decided that it was necessary not to act like an American abroad and attempt to get rid of the reputation we get.
This is a funny scene from the movie 2 Days in Paris. I think that its a funny way in showing the "American Abroad" stereotype being confronted by another American. It is a good example of how there are many different types of American Stereotypes, ironically enough, in this scene it is one American being rude to the other. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
My advice for any American travelling abroad is to just RELAX! Travelling is not a competition of who spent the most or has seen the most places. It is the complete opposite. The experience is different for everyone and is unique to each individual; as different people enjoy different things. Try to relax, have fun, and embrace the culture you are in. Whether its Paris to Peru.
That was my first and only bad experience with negative attitudes towards Americans abroad, but I try not to let it bother me too much. That's why I love travelling. Experiencing new things and learning something new; when it happens to be about yourself, it makes the experience even better.