5 Things That Surprised Me About Paris

5. The Cold

I visited Paris during the third weekend in October and I felt like I was tunneling through an iceberg the entire the time. That might be a slight exaggeration and , granted, I am the one with a cardigan in the middle of July, but it was pretty darn cold. Everyone was bundled up in padded winter jackets and hats pulled down low. I stepped off the plane with only a thin sweater and decorative scarf. Thank goodness for the H&M I accidentally stumbled upon. I was able to buy a decent winter jacket for less than 30 Euros. I wore it well into spring and it looks good enough to make a  reprise this winter.

4. The Traffic

Every major city has traffic lights but traffic patterns defiantly differ from place to place. That’s something I had to learn the hard way. In Paris, that meant running into a lane of traffic , thinking I was running out of the line of fire.  It was a quick crash course on Parisian traffic but I’ll never forget the look of hatred on that bus driver’s face.

3. The Affection for Students

Paris is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world. While it certainly has the possibility to live up to that title, there are numerous discounts for the student to take advantage of. Pretty much every attraction I visited, like the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre Museum, were discounted or free by showing my student ID.

2.  The Friendliness

Another common stereotype labels Paris as extremely unfriendly. I’ve read and heard first hand accounts of the rudeness shown to travelers and was a bit worried in the days leading up to the trip. It turns out , there was no need to stress. With the exception the security guards at Le Zenith and whoever stole my Bruno Mars concert shirt, people in Paris were remarkable friendly and conversational. Multiple people stopped to give detailed directions or recommendations and we were normally greeted with smiles when walking into a shop or restaurant.  I found that attempting a few words of French , whether it was Bonjour, Parlez vous anglais, or Merci ,made it much easier to approach people and get a positive response. 

1. The Gorgeousness

Simply put, Paris was one of the most beautiful places I was fortunate enough to experience first-hand. Around every corner was the outline of another stately and historic building. The streets were either cobble stoned or marked by neat, uniform lines of both vintage and designer stores. Of course, there are few scenarios more picturesque that walking along the Seine River and blinking at the tower in the distance.