Paris | Initial Thoughts

 

Hey everyone! We are back from our amazing week-long 30th anniversary trip to Paris and I thought I’d hop on today with some initial thoughts of the city. Over the next few days I’ll also be sharing some tips as well as photos from this awesome place.

The Magic of Paris

I have to say the word of the trip is: awe.

Everywhere I turned, every building I walked into, all the glorious food…I was in awe.

How can one have any other opinion?

Really.

I never take for granted where I live. I see the same things every day and I’m always amazed. And then when you get to experience a whole other country and culture, you can’t help but feel the same thing. What an amazing place to get to be a part of for just a brief moment in time. The history and architecture alone floors me. How awesome would it be to get to be a part of that for your life or a long period of time even?

There is so much beauty and places to explore here! Our tired feet is proof of that. ;) But it’s totally worth it! They say to truly experience Paris that you need to walk it. I say amen to that. Even though it can result in an exhausting day, I wouldn’t have traded our walks for anything! Our first full day there we walked to the Louvre (didn’t go in), through the gardens, over to Rue Cler, to the Eiffel Tower…and long story short, on to the Bir-Hakeim bridge (aka, Inception bridge ;) ) and metro…which were both amazing! See? There is even beauty in the metro! (I shared a pic of it on Instagram and will share it again here on the blog soon.)

We were sure tired, but boy, what we saw was breathtaking. You just want to soak in every nook and cranny of this awesome city. (How many times will I be saying awesome or amazing in this post? haha)

We also did not experience the ‘rudeness’ that one hear’s about French people. In fact, it was just the opposite. Everyone was so friendly and helpful–even in the service industry (which is what we’d heard was bad). Everyone was lovely. And only twice did we have a language issue, but both moments were quickly helped by others who could speak both English and French.

There is still more that I’d love to see and experience, but it’ll have to just wait for another trip someday. :)

The Reality of Paris

With all that wonderfulness and awe comes the reality of Paris that it is, in fact, a big city and all that comes with that. It’s hard to see that reality when you look at the ‘pretty pictures.’ :) There’s the crowds, traffic, graffiti, garbage, broken bottles, urine, and downright disrespect of religious buildings.

I was shocked to see so much garbage in certain places. But the worst was people leaving their garbage in places like a little ‘shelf’ in the building structure–behind an iron fence–at Saint Chapelle. It really bothered me to see–or smell (human urine by Sacre Coeur)–the nastiness especially around these religious places. I am not Catholic, but I have a huge respect for any religious building or place. One should be mindful of where they are and be respectful. I was greatly saddened and bothered by people’s disrespect not only for common decency in general, but for their disrespect of religious places.

Not cool people. Not cool.

And it’s not like garbage bins aren’t everywhere either…which I also think is the source of some of the garbage problem. While the garbage bins are ‘pretty’ with their metal strips making a vase-like garbage bin, the openness of it all allows birds and such to peck at the green plastic to get at the garbage within, spilling it out all over the place. Not sure why they’ve opted for this method. I think a change to solid containers would reduce the amount of garbage greatly.

ETA: Someone mentioned the reason for the open style garbage cans was because of some bombings that had happened using garbage cans. The open style is a safety issue. Makes sense then. Now if they could just make it so the birds couldn’t get to it. ;)

There are also ‘homeless’ people hanging out on the streets. I’m sure some are homeless and some aren’t–just trying to make a buck. For example, we were eating at a cafe and I could see a ‘homeless’ man sleeping on the side of a building. A few minutes later I look over and he has his cell phone out talking. Hmm… You get that kind of stuff in many cities…even here in little old Utah. Some are truly in need and some are scamming.

Speaking of scamming, we didn’t have any run-ins with thievery, however, we did run into a couple of the scammers. We’d heard about the guys that try to tie something on your wrist. Dan deflected a guy that approached him. And then there was a man who ‘picked up a gold ring’ in front of us and said ‘Oooh. Gold. Yours?’ I had watched him lower his hand to the ground where there was nothing and suddenly it was in his hand. As he kept trying to convince Dan it was his or that we should ‘claim’ that it was ours since it was gold. I just kept saying, ‘no, no, no’ and pulled Dan away. We’d heard about this scam too.

When all is said and done.

In the end, that small bit of negative is outweighed by the awesomeness of the positive. I guess it just makes you truly appreciate all that’s good even more, right? I think the reason why I shared the negative bits is so that you don’t go to Paris expecting complete magic. While it truly is a magical place, there are always a ‘dragon’ or two like most fairytales. :)

 

 

2018-03-29T20:30:55+00:00March 29th, 2018|paris, travel|9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Audrey March 29, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I loved your photos! I was in Paris 30 years ago and I would love to go back. Speaking of the negative aspects, I had a similar experience this winter in a different location. Our first trip to Hawaii was wonderful for the sheer beauty of the landscape. But I was amazed at the trash on the roadsides, who throws trash out their car window? Seriously. And the traffic was ridiculous and the beaches were crowded. And I won’t mention how dirty most of the public bathrooms were. And yet, I want to to back to Hawaii to see more of its beauty. I guess we have to balance the positive and the negative. Thanks for sharing your Paris photos!

    • Kerri Bradford March 29, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      I agree. I’m pretty much always focused on the beauty and then I get saddened when the tiny bits of negativity seeps in. But the positive definitely outweighs the little bit of negative. :)

  2. Melanie Arrowood March 29, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    First, I am SO glad you had a wonderful time. I look forward to seeing your pictures! Second, I’m glad you shared a bit of the “other” side of Paris. Beauty is always there if you look for it, but a city is a city and it has it’s battles. People are often afraid to travel because they hear bad things. (we have been out of the country but I can’t convince my husband to let me take him to NY lol) Be smart, be aware of your surroundings and have fun!

    Audrey, Hawaii was on that list of always wanted but will never make it to places. Everyone kept saying it was just a bunch of poverty and shacks. I got luck enough to go and visit a few of the islands. I was in awe of the beauty. The public restrooms are dirty lol but you are right, you just have to balance it. Different islands have different things to offer and smaller, out of the way beaches are great for less people and snorkeling! I still crave going back to explore more.

    I think as a whole, society has put blinders on. We have forgotten that it is up to us to take care of this planet. It is also up to us to destroy it. For those of us that go in search of the beauty out there, whether it is nature, or buildings or something else, I know it hurts to see things like trash and the urine that Kerri spoke of.

    • Kerri Bradford March 29, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      You’re right about cities having their battles. I think I went to Paris with my rose-colored glasses on, thinking that everything was just going to be picture-perfect and it surprised me to find out otherwise. There is so much that is well kept, but areas that struggle. I may be a bit naive too, even though I’ve traveled abroad–and to NYC ;)–before. Funny. I expected bits of negative ‘big city’ life in NYC. But for some reason I didn’t expect it in Paris. It’s my fairytale of perfection. :)

      There is so much beauty in this world and we do need to take care of it to keep it beautiful. I don’t understand why people think it’s okay to throw their garbage anywhere but in a garbage can–wherever they may be in this world.

  3. Deborah Mahnken April 2, 2018 at 8:03 am

    We’re going for a couple days this summer with our Girl Scout troop (as part of an EF Tour). I’ve never been but I’ve been dying to get to the Louvre. I’m a bit concerned with crime/pickpockets. Did you take the subway at all and if so how safe did you feel?

    • Kerri Bradford April 2, 2018 at 10:42 am

      I think as long as you are aware and have things safely put away–particularly in zippered pockets inside a bag–and keep things closed up, you’ll be fine. I saw lots of people (including locals) walking around with their phones out. I have a phone case called Loopy, so my finger was always through it when it was out. I liked that extra security. We took the subway several times. Sometimes they were crowded. I just kept my crossbody handbag right in front of me with my hand on the opening part just to be assured.

      There was only one time I had concern and that was when a ‘homeless’ man was sitting about ten feet from the ATM I needed to get money from. Dan just stood between me and him and it was fine.

      I really wasn’t worried too much. Just always be aware of your surroundings.
      And maybe it was different because I was with my husband (broad built chest with a ‘don’t mess with me’ look ;) ).
      But Kass and I have done NYC and we were fine.

      But having to watch the girl scouts and your own belongings might be more of a chore. haha

      You’re gonna love it!

      • Deborah Mahnken April 2, 2018 at 11:39 am

        Hmm.. good idea about the ATM. We’ll try and have enough money changed before we get to Paris. Luckily for our troop, everyone’s mom is coming. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a big, burly tour guide! ;)

        • Kerri Bradford April 2, 2018 at 11:48 am

          Oh, that’s nice that all the moms are coming! And YES to big burly tour guides. :)

          I had to make an emergency ATM trip by myself when we found out the restaurant we were eating at didn’t take credit cards and we had no cash. What? We were sitting next to another American couple who eat there every year they come to Paris–talking to them for a couple hours while we all ate–and near the end, she said, “Now you know they don’t take cards, right?” What??? I knew where one ATM was and went to get money by myself. It was maybe a five minute walk (and oddly, unbeknownst at the time, that other ATM was just around the other side of the block. haha). It was about 9:00 and people were on the streets. But I just looked at my surroundings as I did my thing, grabbed the card and cash quickly and put it right in my pocket without even looking at it…just to be safe. ;)

  4. Deborah Mahnken April 2, 2018 at 11:40 am

    .. Oops … and thanks for your feedback!

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