Paris. Paris was difficult for me… It was beautiful and romantic and full of everything I wanted it to give me. But it was also overwhelming, far from our flat (the airBnb description was a bit misleading), and harder to navigate than I expected (on account of everything I wanted to see in just 3 days was spread across the entire city).
Also, I noticed, after traveling 3 out of 5 days, one’s cooperation and patience stores are depleted.
Perhaps my real problem was that I went in with too many expectations and too many siblings (like I said, there’s a serious lack of communal cooperation after 3 days of exhausting travel..)
The things I did see, however, were beautiful. Everywhere I turned the architecture amazed me. Giant, ornate buildings. Romantic Windows above narrow streets. Locals and tourists intertwining like the streets in front of us.
I took myself to the Pompidou one morning while my brothers explored Notre Dame and spent hours zig zagging through the exhibits and admiring the view from the top. Another day we spent a few hours in the Picasso which was beautiful and a great collection. I admit, we missed the Louvre but the crowds were massive and we didn’t have much time. Next time.
Basically we just walked and walked, crossing bridges and sometimes getting lost until we stumbled upon sites and cafes. Delicious croissants, croque monsieurs, picnics of baguettes and cheese near Shakespeare and Co. We drank wine under the Eiffel Tower and watched it sparkle before meeting a friend of mine to drink by the Canal Saint Martin with the locals. We read our books in the shade of the parks, while we sipped champagne and rode bikes through the Paris Zoo park.
Our flat was just outside of Paris proper (Saint Mandé is right on the edge of the 12th arrondissement). I was looking forward to living in the hustle and bustle of Paris, but in the end, we were able to experience the true Parisian lifestyle without English or tourist traps and significantly cheaper.
On Sunday morning we were lucky enough to catch a local marche en plein aire and picked up a few snacks.
So yeah, France was difficult for me. I regret not taking more initiative in planning and a day by myself to explore without my (very slow walking) brothers. But I guess that’s more reason to go back. I still loved what I saw. And we still had a lot of fun.