Monday, June 10, 2013

Ni##as In Paris- Paris, France

Bonjour! Summer is here and without any delay James and I jumped on the first flight to Paris, the city of love. Being our first foreign speaking country it was a bit tedious upon arrival, especially after hearing so many stories about the French having a rather rude nature. However my story has nothing of that sort. For 38 hours Paris was ours for the taking. With a city that has so much to offer there was no time to waste. 

Our goal was simple, do as the French do. With that thought in mind we dumped our bags in the hostel as quick as we could and headed out to the hustle of the streets. Staying just outside the city centre at St Christopher's was a perfect location, situated on the side of a canal. As we strode along the water side we emerged amongst group after group of people. Some were playing games of Bocce, others were playing games of table tennis, some were on the edge of the canal having a picnic and all of them were drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and carrying around french sticks. I couldn't believe the scene before my eyes. It was so relaxed, so carefree, so French. It was then so obvious how we were going to spend our first night in Paris. Heading down to the local fruit and veg store we lashed out and grabbed ourself a bottle of €2.50 red wine and a packet of Marlboro's. Returning to the canal we sat out all night watching the sun turn into the moon, as we happily people watched and elegantly swigged red straight from the bottle.

Between the two of us the only French words we could swing together were bonjour, au revoir, excusez-moi, oui and merci beaucoup (hello, goodbye, yes and thank you very much) non of which really mattered because we came up with our own full proof plan. Basically James would abandon ship while I enter into shops or approach passers by. It would always start with a big smile a 'bonjour' and after they spit a whole lot of French vocabulary at me I would begin a game of charades making sure to be very animated and include a lot of hand gestures and quick movements, after all the French do love there art. Im not quite sure who enjoyed it more me, the poor Frenchmen I had cornered or people who were just the whiteness to it all, who often decided to join in on the game and add in a few more French words to really get the party started. The ending was always the same I would succeeded in sending my message, thank them kindly and give them another huge smile sometimes even a bit of a friendly giggle. Without fail it worked every time, for some reason the French seemed to love me. My faith had been restored. The French are beautiful cultured people. 

Not missing a beat we set off early to insure we got the most out of our day. The first stop on our French journey was simple. The French love fashion, as do I. So we hopped on the metro and went down to the Marche aux Puces d'Ailgre markets. Open only from Saturday to Monday it was perfect timing. The markets were filled with fabulous stalls selling anything from second hand vintage clothes to brick and brac. We spent most part of the morning rummaging through piles of old treasures and playing dress ups. Whilst soaking up every inch of the hectic atmosphere.

When we emerged from the underground subway into the light of the inner city I was completely blown away by the architecture. I felt as if the city had just engulfed me. Every single detail even the most minutiae were designed and crafted in a sheer artistic form. As we roamed the streets taking in the sites we headed for one of Paris' most famous attractions, The Louvre. A museum that is home to some of the worlds most renowned paintings and sculptures. One of which being Leonardo da 'Vinci 'Mono Lisa'. Inside was like a maze. Different levels with different rooms that spiralled off onto another great exhibition. There was so much to see. Not only was there so much art displayed in the museum but the building itself was an art of its own. With its marbled walls, massive wooden doors, extravagantly painted ceilings, beautiful crafted edges and rosettes and archways painted in gold. After two hours we made it to the Mono Lisa herself. Much smaller then I ever imagined she hung alone on a wall where she was swarmed by a sea of people, all eager to take a picture of a slice of history. 

On our quest to live the French dream we headed through the cites lush parks, where we grabbed a croissant and sat by a fountain enjoying the warm spring day, watching the Eiffle Tower loom in the back ground it was the perfect French scene. One of those moments you just want to pinch yourself just to ensure your not dreaming. As we walked on the tower began to grow as we began getting closer and closer, until before my very eyes I was standing under the iconic Eiffel Tower. What a view, what a phenomenal structure.  

Soaking up the city it wasn't so much that we wanted to see more, but it was more of a longing to see more. There was only one true French way to explore the depth of what this city has to offer, and that was by bike. So we set up a tour with Frances original bike group, Fat Tire. For €30 we received a four hour city tour which included all major landmarks, a stop off at Paris best ice-cream parlour and a river boat tour with not just wine but free wine, which makes it taste just that much better. Opting to do the night tour was a perfect way to end our time in Paris. As we road around on the busy city roads amongst the cars and all the mayhem, we truly were apart of the French city scene. As we rode into the sunset we stopped at places like 'Notre Darme' where I tried to find a hunch back bell ringer, but had no such luck. We drove around The Louvre and experienced a quite serial scene, nothing like The Louvre we experienced earlier in the peak of the day. The city was even more perfect as the night went on. Boarding onto the boat we were just in time to watch the Eiffel Towers fairy light show from the top of the deck, as we floated around seeing more of the cities beautiful sites knocking back glasses of red. Hoping back on the bikes it became evident that I probably had a few to many glasses. As I swerved and jolted my way back to the starting point where we would finish our tour. I breathed in every last breath of French love that was in the air and took one more look at the lit up gleaming Eiffel Tower. Paris complete.

Check list:
See the Mono Lisa (x)
Ride a Bike (x)
Kiss under the Eiffel Tower (x)
Eat a french stick (x)
Speak French to a Frenchy (x)
Eat a croisant (x)
Drink French wine (x)
Eat a Macaroon (x)
Smoke a cigarette on the canal (x)
Visit the Norte Darme (x)
Shop like a French women (x) 

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