Paris: city of lights, food, broken stereotypes

Bonjour! Paris: It’s the city of lights, delicious food and incredibly nice people. OK, so before this trip I have to be honest, I had a couple stereotypes about France, which were proved wrong.
The first stereotype was that French people are rude, stuck up and snobby. So before going I had this picture in my head of trying to ask for directions or having trouble with ordering and being ignored or treated rudely. I asked for directions from an older gentleman working at a newspaper stand, and he helped direct me to the hostel with simple directions and welcomed me to Paris with a smile. It was very kind and made me feel more at home.
The difference between restaurants in Paris, restaurants at home and restaurants in Rome is pretty much the service. In Rome, waiters and waitresses usually come to take your order, bring you your food and that’s it; no coming by to ask how everything is or asking if you want the check. And obviously in America waiters and waitresses are proactive. Well, I found that Parisian service was a nice mix between America and Rome. The service was great; they came by several times to refill our water, and were very quick with our meals, and check. It was a nice change of pace.
The second stereotype was that the food was weird. Of course I hadn’t necessarily looked into it much, but I knew that a famous dish in France is snails. I was hesitant at first because why in your right mind would you want to eat snails? Well I tried it, and it was actually so tasty. It reminded me of something similar to mussels or clams as far as texture goes, and it was also salty. Our waiter knew that we were Americans, so he gave us these tools to use for eating it. I had no idea that it was such a process. I am thrilled that I tried it. Other foods I tried include: duck, pumpkin soup, creme brulee, macaroons and a banana Nutella filled crepe! Everything was so tasty and nice change

Lauren Healy poses in front of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.
Lauren Healy poses in front of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.
Escargot is a French cuisine consisting of snails. Also pictured are tools used to help eat it.
Escargot is a French cuisine consisting of snails. Also pictured are tools used to help eat it.

from pizza and pasta. Also, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t most excited for eating Chipotle for the first time in two months. Our taxi dropped us off as soon as we landed.
OK so the third thing isn’t exactly a stereotype but I guess I didn’t realize that Paris is the city of lights. I kind of just thought that it was a city with the Eiffel Tower, and some other cool buildings. My friends and I spent several hours hanging out around the tower during the day and also at night. We thought it would be really cool to see it at night so the first night we just stood and admired it from afar. The tower is lit at night but also sparkles on the hour. Watching the tower sparkle was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. That was another “Is my life real” moments that I had frequently. Our last night in Paris we took an elevator to the first, second and top levels. Looking out at the city solidified why Paris is called the city of lights.
On my weekend excursion, I also visited the Palace of Versailles, which is a royal chateau and the unofficial capital of France. We also saw the Louvre Museum, which holds thousands and thousands of artworks. Our tour guide told us that if you spent 10 seconds looking at every object in the museum it would take you three months to see everything. For us, we mainly wanted to see the original Mona Lisa. We walked up and down the Champs-Elysees, which is the main shopping district.
The only regret is not having enough time to explore this gorgeous city. It was truly more than I ever expected. I would recommend Paris to anyone and everyone who likes art and man-made beauty. I can’t wait to go back one day.
Ciao for now! Next stop, a place in Rome that makes me feel at home. Pittsburgh nation, you’ll like this one!

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