I like Paris.  Considering I don’t like cities and the busy hustle and bustle, I don’t like being out of my “safety-zone” and I can only just manage a little “pigeon french”, it’s amazing how much I like Paris, a capital city of a far away foreign land.

          My first visit to Paris was a disaster, I went on a year one school trip.  The friend I was supposed to be going with backed out and apart from the boys on the bus putting chewing gum in my hair when I fell asleep on the coach, I was put to share a room with two best-friends who spent the whole week resenting the geek who was imposed on them.

         My second visit got off to a very dodgy start.  I had always talked with my husband of going to Paris for our honeymoon.  Eventually, after our third daughter was of school age we made it.  We dropped the children off for a weekend with family and joined a three-day coach trip in the early hours of the morning.  We must have spent the whole of the first day on the coach driving to various pick-up points, including the centre of both London and Birmingham, on the way.

          My confidence was at an all time low, I couldn’t speak the language, I couldn’t even read the road signs and I just looked from the safety of the bus window as the sights came and went in a bit of a blur.

         A number of arranged excursions were planned as well as a group evening meal for each day.  On the Sunday my husband announced that we weren’t staying with the group, we were going off on our own on the metro under our own steam as it were.  I gave up trying to hold onto reality, panic setting in, I just grabbed his hand like a little girl lost and gave over all control of the day to him.

          The metro was fine, just like the London Underground but a lot cleaner. Then, when we emerged back out into the daylight … it was into the biggest market you could ever imagine.

          This was my territory, I knew it well, the store traders trying to entice you into paying over the odds, the cluttered stalls with the bargains hidden in small corners, the bargain hunters pushing and shoving to get to the next stall before you, the smell of greasy burgers and tea in plastic cups … my husband handed over the reins to me and off we went.

          One of the most important words in my limited french vocabulary came to the top of my mind … combien ? (how much), I couldn’t understand the answers so the rest of my haggling was done on the piece of paper and pen I offered to the trader along with the question.  I don’t remember the exact size of the market, I only remember that it was immense, lots of different markets all joined together and we spent the whole day there.

          We’ve been back to Paris on a number of occasions since, even back to the market on one trip, although it seemed like a much smaller playground on the second visit.

          Once again I let myself be manipulated into expanding my “safety-zone” and realising that I can deal with most things life has to throuw at me.  It’s really scary sometimes when he does this to me, but I usually feel good about the sense of achievement afterwards. (And no, you can’t quote me on this).

           More from before: “Paris” … and not just in the springtime.


20 thoughts on “Paris

  1. My one and only trip to Paris was when my daughter was on a semester of study-abroad. She spoke the language and that’s what saved me. Well, there was that one dreadful Wednesday night when she had class and I had to order in a restaurant by myself. But we won’t mention that.

    Awesome photos!

    • Thanks, these photos were taken at later dates on a number of other trips to Paris but they fitted in nicely where they are.
      And thanks for stopping by, drop in anytime. 🙂

  2. Great shots – I especially like the first one with its unusual composition! I love your descriptions of your various visits too. The school trip sounded pretty rough!

  3. Pingback: The First Time I Saw Paris | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  4. J’aime Paris! Oh, how I love that city. The sounds, the smells, the people, the hustle and bustle … I love it (even the stinky cheese shops!). And the perspective in that first picture is wonderful!

  5. I know exactly how you felt in Paris, I felt the same way. We have also been down to some small towns in southern France, where nobody speaks anything but French, and we found that the people were so much nicer and really tried hard to understand our ridiculous attempts at French. It is a beautiful place though and I hope you go back soon.

    • I’ve found that if you try to use their language the locals are quite helpful and will fill in the gaps with English for you but if you just spout English at them they don’t have any patience with you at all.
      We don’t have any other French trips planned but I’m sure there will be another one sooner or later. 🙂

  6. J’adore Paris. J’y aimerais de vivre labas une année ou bien 6 mois. Elle est unique au monde je crois 🙂

    I’ve been there once, when I was young. I have to come back, I miss it.

    See you mon ami!

  7. I went to Paris about ten years ago with my then husband D. I LOVED it. We stayed in a hotel in Montmartre. My oldest daughter and her family had rented a small apartment nearby. Thus far it’s my favorite large city. How fortunate you are to have been there several times.

    • Fortunate indeed. We made a decision many moons ago to have a family young so that we weren’t too old to enjoy life afterwards. Now that the girls are growing up and have their own lives we are finding time to do things like travel … and enjoying it too. 🙂
      Thanks for dropping in.

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  10. Pingback: The First Time I Saw Paris | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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