By April 22nd, I was ready for my vacation to Paris (& London). To be completely honest, I was a bit nervous about visiting Paris, it had nothing to do with the attacks last November and everything to do with my lack of knowledge of the language. When I went to Amsterdam last April, I knew that I could get by with English (and felt that I dominated the "I only speak a little dutch" and "do you speak English" phrase) Around these parts, the French are known for not being particularly friendly to foreigners. We have a solid assumption that they don't speak English and wont make any effort. (but lets be real here, most Americans only speak one language and are not accommodating to other languages either but that is a whole other post).
Aside from the bitch of a flight attendant on my flight there ( not to me but to the really adorable high school kids, many of them traveling internationally for the first time ) I found the French to be a very lovely group of people. Yes, I did mainly interact with those in the service industry but it was enough people to feel comfortable being a complete outsider.
I was shocked at the lack of border security when I entered the country, the dude at customs could barely be bothered to stop his conversation with his cube mate. Found an open page in my passport and stamped it - no further questioning. When directed to go through agriculture, I was just waved along. Based on what has been going on in Europe I was surprised. I wasn't surprised by the fact that I had to have my purse checked any time we entered a major store or landmark. It seemed routine to have guards checking bags most everywhere tourist go. I certainly didn't mind, and it didn't hear anyone that did. (although I don't speak/understand most of the languages I heard around me).
My sister and I had a lovely time being super tourist. I have no shame in this. I booked tickets to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This came in clutch since we didn't have to wait in any lines. We did a bus tour around the major landmarks. We had Rose & Macaroons at Lauderee. We drank a lot of wine ( I didn't have a single beer while in France, those that know me will understand how big this is) We ate a lot of cheese. We looked at beautiful paintings. and We saw a show at the Moulin Rouge.
|the very tipy top of the Eiffel Tower|
It was a fantastic weekend. Obviously Paris deserves more time than we allowed, but it was the right amount for my sister and I. Come Tuesday we were eager to get to London in time to see the kiddos.