I fell In Love. With Paris.
If I had money, all I would do with my life is travel.
There is something that amazes me about being in a foreign place, experiencing life through other people’s eyes and being exposed to new cultures. As much as it opens my eyes about what’s going on out in the world, it also helps me appreciate my country, South Africa more.
My friends and I went on a Paris/Amsterdam tour over the holiday period and people thought we were crazy for going over there during that cold weather and especially when there were reports of rail services being suspended and trains being stuck due to bad weather. Well, what can I say, sithand’izinto!
Two of my boys were going about their business, planning the trip and I was like “There’s no way I’m letting these boys go alone, come back and tell me about Paris, I wanna go and experience it too” so I asked them if I could join them and they were nice enough to agree. So I went and told another friend, who joined and before we knew it, there were now 5 of us going! To me, Amsterdam was just a bonus, all I wanted was to go to Paris. I heard them getting excited over the Red Light District but before I googled it a week before we left, I swear, I had no idea what that was about and I knew nothing about the whole weed situation in Amsterdam. Errr…ja!
We left Johannesburg on Saturday 26th and landed in Paris on the morning of the 27th. They are just an hour behind us so there wasn’t any adjusting really. We landed in the morning and we got on the train to our hotel, situated in Pigalle, a place I later found out is Paris’ sex district. Never trust boys to do bookings! lol.
Pigalle is weird. It seemed like we were in Hillbrow, I promise you, we saw more sex shops in that place than I’ve seen in the entire Johannesburg. Even the famous Moulin Rouge, which is in the area looked dodgy as hell, I was not in the least bit interested in checking it out.
Anyway, we made our way to our hotel and luckily it wasn’t that difficult to find. As we were making our way there, I was really worried about how it was gonna look like considering the area it was in but my fears were soon laid to rest when we walked in & were welcomed by the warmth.
The hotel’s reception area was tiny shem, actually everything in that place is small. From the narrow streets, to the people, I only saw one overweight person there and trust me, we saw a LOTTA people.
The rooms at Hotel Eden were nice, at least mine was. Not wow typa nice but I’ve heard stories about how horrible some 3Star hotels are (or maybe it’s African 3 star hotels that are bad? ) but ours was cool. If my bathroom is nice then I’m happy & it was.
Anyway, we dropped our luggage off at the hotel and hit the streets of Paris.
Being in Paris
I don’t know about the others but honestly felt like I was in a movie. The buildings are beautiful.
Yho, those people know how to dress up for winter shem, I’m inspired. I felt like me and my rags didn’t belong there.. the boots, the jackets..aaaaah, Parisians are so fashionable!
If anyone needs a makeover send them to Paris and they’ll be inspired and learn how to look good just by being on the streets or getting on a train to see the diverse nations that live there but are united when it comes to dressing up in style. I need to go there again and experience what it’s like in summer. But first, I need to hit the gym.
Huwie…how unfriendly! This has nothing to do with us not being able to speak French but hayi the unfriendliest people in the world live in Paris & that’s no joke. I’m one of the people who’s always had a problem with that “fake smile” white South Africans give you when you run into or walk past them but hey, I’d have that any day over the serious expressions in Paris.
Look, in South Africa it’s very easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger on a queue or if you’re sitting next to them in a taxi or flight and I didn’t get the feeling that I could do that in Paris and that’s not the type of life I could ever get used to.
Life is all about interacting with people, strangers or not and maybe I’m weird and, no, I wasn’t expecting to strike instant friendships with strangers, that doesn’t happen anywhere but is it too much to expect a smile at least??
The thing is not even the people who are giving a service to you, smile. Or speak English. I thought this was supposed to be a universal language…and thina we are so judged if we only speak Xhosa, Zulu etc and can’t express ourselves in English in our own country but who’s judging the French for only speaking French?
You cannot go to any country and not experience their public transport system. Their Metro (train) is the sh!t! Totally, totally loved it! It was a bit difficult for me to understand at first but I was with geniuses who are used to travelling the world so figuring it all out was a piece of cake to them. The trains are on schedule, there’s not much waiting for transport and hayi shame, it makes it so easier for tourists to get around & you can also get maps when you buy your tickets it’s so simple. You can buy the tickets over the counter or use the self-help what-what, hayi that’s one thing them Europeans got right. I don’t know if that system would ever work in South Africa but it’s definitely worth giving it a try, what a pleasure!
Food & Shopping
Hheheheh tjo! Lemme just say, do not ever think you could go shopping in Paris on a budget. I was on a budget. A tight budget. Especially because I had to convert every price to rands by multiplying everything by 11.
I don’t know what I expected but hayi shem….milkshake for R100?? Aowa! Hawu I don’t think it’s that much in Cape Town’s most expensive restaurant, is it?
At the same R100 milkshake restaurant, a glass of wine was like 3, 40 euros and a cup of tea was 4.90 eurs..needless to say I went for the glass of wine. How does a cup of tea become more expensive than a glass of wine?? Is this normal? Have I been living in a cocoon?
In terms of clothing, the clothes in the shops were for winter and I was just not interested in buying clothes I had to wait 4 months before I could wear. That was my excuse but honestly I couldn’t even afford the stuff they said was on sale. lol.
Champs-Elysees is where all the major shopping labels are…you find Chanel, Escada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabana & Jimmy Choo all in one street…aaah Parisians are blessed! You can’t go to Paris and not go to that street, screams fabulous !!!
I couldn’t believe that people actually queued to get into the Louis Vutton store! Queue, to go spend all that money?? Oh my word… I totally understand why anyone would want to have a rich sugar daddy…after Paris, sorry bathong nna I’m open to the idea! hehehe.
Hayi, I’ve never been one to go crazy over brand names/labels etc but this trip has changed all of that. Everyone, including old people, were in Burberry this, Prada that, this and that label…umm hello I’m converted now! In my heart only though coz there’s still no way I can justify buying a Jimmy Choo shoe for over R6 000. I’m not yet at that point. Not financially but I will gladly accept such gifts. *wink*
I’m a lil disappointed that we didn’t get to do much sightseeing…I don’t know why but maybe it’s coz we spent so much time in the shops than actually viewing the usual tourist attractions.
Umm…we went to the Eiffel Tower though. Like how could we go to Paris and not go there? Heheheh that’s all you need to prove to people that you were in Paris, a picture next to the Eiffel Tower and here’s mine! hehe.
eish, my photographer was tipsy….let’s try another one…
We didn’t get to see Musee de Louvre, one of the world’s most visited museums and where that famous (& overrated) Mona Lisa is but I’ll do that the next time I go there
We left Paris for Amsterdam on 29 December and came back again on 01 January for the day so we had our chance to bid the city of lights a proper goodbye. It’s not the type of thing people do on holiday but I had the whole day in Paris so I went to see a movie in one of their theatres in Champs Elysees. The only movie they had in English at that time was Solomon Kane, don’t ask me what it was about, I don’t remember.
Paris, France is really a beautiful and romantic place. I didn’t get to see Thierry Henry as I had hoped but what I saw there instead was 10 times better
You should see that city at night, under all those lights!
You could walk down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, with your man holding your hand, no conversation, except him asking if you’re okay and it would feel like the most romantic moment of your life.
A moment you wanna hold on to, forever.
I fell in love.