1) I need to learn more French.
Knowing how to ask if someone speaks English and how to say hello as well as thank you are pretty important things, but I will never again go to another country without having at least a basic knowledge of their language. It was actually extremely easy to get around Paris only knowing a few key phrases, but I would have liked to understand what they were saying and then be able to respond in some way. Basically, my next few birthday and Christmas lists are going to consist of Rosetta Stone program requests.
2) Don't ever act like you're better than someone else just because you're American.
It's true that the French can be very rude and very pushy, but that's only because the people they are interacting with are acting like they're entitled to the help or the things they're requesting. I absolutely loved the French people and was so touched by how completely kind and generous they were when I interacted with them. I am under the impression that those in my group who complained about the attitudes of the French people acted like they should have what they want simply because they want it... you know, like children. It's true that the French are definitely a little bit more forward with their emotions and can be a bit pushy if you're in their way, but that's kind of just how they are. The only time anybody gave me any sort of crap was when I accidentally walked backward into an older woman on the Metro. She was giving everyone the stink eye though, so I didn't feel too upset about it. Seriously though, I am so impressed by the kindness and love I was shown in Paris.
3) Take it slow.
This applies to most areas of life, but today in particular. Yesterday was about a sixteen hour day for my friends and me, and we were all absolutely exhausted by the end of it all. Today we really just wanted to see a couple of things and relax a little. So we did those things and walked at a pretty leisurely pace going from one thing to the next. We also took time to sit and relax in some pretty incredible locations. Not only was today one of the best days I've had on this trip, but it was also one of the best days I've had in a while. Period. We didn't get nearly as tired as we were yesterday (although we all sat like zombies on the train coming back to London), and we had a really wonderful day. We were the good kind of tired today.
4) French men are absolutely gorgeous... for the most part.
I cannot tell you how many guys my friends and I checked out during our stay in Paris, but it was a lot. Nobody prepared me for that aspect of Paris and it made the trip very enjoyable. They dress nicely, they usually smell good, and they actually talk to you instead of just standing around being shy about speaking to women who they think are attractive. Now that is how things should be done.
5) There are over 300, 000 dogs in the city of Paris.
I love dogs. So much.
6) Paris is not as dangerous as everyone says it is.
Sure, there are pickpockets, but there are pickpocket pretty much everywhere. If you're careful and more importantly, aware of your surroundings, you'll be just fine. I'm pretty sure I met a couple of shady characters while I was there, but I came back with all the stuff I went with. Plus a few things. Just don't be stupid. That's a pretty good rule of thumb for life in general.
7) I will return to France.
I adore France and am trying to figure out when I can go back. Today's weather was unreal and I really want to be able to go back around this time to the French countryside and also to Cannes so that I can enjoy the beautiful French summer weather. It's funny, the summer there is extremely similar to San Diego's summer. Maybe that's why I loved it so much. Basically, I will have learned enough French to speak a little and read a menu, and will spend more than just one weekend in France. It's too gorgeous and too full of wonderful things to explore for me to only give it a single weekend.
So there you go. France is great and I would do it again tomorrow if I could.
GO TO FRANCE.
This is the epitome of adorable little French pastry shops. The old couple who ran it were so kind and so patient with us English speaking folk. Everything in this shop looked divine and like pastel colored bliss.
This would be Megan having a spiritual experience while eating French macarons. We searched for them, and we found them. France, Megan thanks you.
I love Notre Dame.
Let me tell you about the next couple of pictures. My friends and I decided that we wanted a soda and a hot dog for lunch before we headed back to the hotel and then to the train. We found a cafe with waiters who spoke English right next to the Notre Dame and sat outside to enjoy the sunshine. We then ordered the biggest drinks they had, expecting them to be McDonald's size large drinks. No. These were ginormous drinks. And the hot dog was also giant. The delicious discovery I made is that brie cheese is good on and with pretty much everything. I've found my new cheese addiction. These enormous hot dogs are covered in grated brie cheese and you are given mayonnaise and ketchup to put on top of your hot dog. I put both on and soon came to find that the fresh baguette the hot dog was in made it impossible to fit in my mouth. Fun fact: I can fit my fist in my mouth, so that hot dog was huge. But it was delicious and totally worth it.
My final shot of the Seine River simply because I love it.
Last pictures of Paris are of their city hall because it's that beautiful. I also hung out in front of one of the fountains they have one either side of this building for a good hour with my posse. Then we had to leave for the train. It was sad, but really nice to come back to a place whose main language is English.
I absolutely adore Paris and am so grateful that I got to go and see this wonderful city. I will miss it until I see it next.
Au revior, Paris. Je t'aime.