Now I’m in Paris… but I feel I need to go back to 2007 and give you some history. In 2007 I went backpacking across Europe. Paris France was the second city I hit. I HATED IT!
Paris France is the City I love to Hate
After boarding the Eurostar in London (the first city I hit), I headed straight to Paris. It was exciting.
I planned for a year and made sure everything was aligned for a great experience. After all, I was doing this by myself, without a working cell phone and lots of language barriers. To be honest I was a little scared of backpacking on my own. But, I needed this and honestly, I wanted it.
I read that Parisians appreciate it when an American tries to speak French, so I made sure to learn all the essentials: “Hello, how are you… Do you speak English, Can you help me, I would like… Excuse me, Can I have, How much…” and a several more… I felt ready!
Arriving in Paris from London
After arriving in the train station in Paris I de-board. I’m greeted by men with guns… Men with guns ALL OVER THE TRAIN STATION. It was very intimidating. To this day, I’m not sure if there was a national security issue or if France has strict laws and regulations. Not an issue tho… I’m from LA, there are people with guns everywhere and these people don’t care about shooting you. No big deal.
As I figured out where to go, I realize I needed to learn lots of French if I was going to make it around town with all of its French signs and maps. I hoped my Spanish skills would help a little.
I asked a lovely train employee for help in French… He looked at me in disgust and shrugged. I thought, my French must be really bad… Maybe Ill try again and asked which station I should get on to get to my hostel… He looked at me again and pointed. Not too bad, I managed. Great!
I get to my rail station and off to the streets I go… Paris is different. The streets are smaller. The buildings are so cute. It’s beautiful.
Lost for an hour, with a giant pack on my back, I look for someone to help… I find a security guard who probably knows the streets more than anyone I could ask and I say, in French “Excuse me, I’m looking for this street…” but I get a quick “SHHHHHHHH!” She lifts the palm of her hand and places is in front of my face as if to tell me to stop talking… As I collect my thoughts someone came and asked the security guard something in French. She politely responds… This was my chance to try again but I was only greeted with verbal hostility. I couldn’t understand what she said, but it was clear in her tone that she did not want me around.
I left, furious… How can someone be so rude? Even after I saw her politely speak to someone else, I apparently was not welcomed.
I decided to search for my hostel on my own, which I eventually found.
It was a bad Parisian experience. I only met rude people. I couldn’t make friends. My hostel was a disaster. I told myself I would never come back to a city so full of HATE!
But… Here I am now…
In my next blog posts I’ll talk a little more about my bad first experience in Paris.