France Life Stories Motivation

That Place You Always Go Back To

comfy-paris

The real question: will I ever get out of this bed?

I will. Cuz I’m here in Paris. Yep, back again. It’s my sixth time in Paris, which I think officially makes it that place that I keep coming back to. You know how most families go to the same place every Spring Break or summer? They have a beach spot, a hotel, and a restaurant – and it becomes part of the family tradition. For my family, it’s The Thunderbird in Treasure Island, Florida. Try getting my family to skip out on that low-key beachside town and you’ll get my mom’s Debby Macomber book thrown in your face.

For me, this place is Paris. Am I convinced I need to move back here as soon as possible? Not quite yet. But still, is it true that every time I’m looking up flights, I’m also checking flights to Paris to compare? It is.

I don’t think I’ve been anywhere more than I have Paris – which is actually pretty cool since I always was intrigued by the idea of it all since Sophomore year of high school. It proves that, even being so “young” and still in high school, we still know who we are to some degree. Some of our feelings are simply stronger than what everyone around us tells us. “French? Why would you major in French, when you can major in Spanish and use it so much more in the States?” Because I’m interested in it?

But here’s the best part: every time I’m in Paris, it’s like I don’t even like Paris – which I guess, after all, is the most Parisian thing I could ever do, mmh?

I’m over here arguing with servers in French “So, you have tofu, and you have bobun, but ‘it’s impossible’ to make a tofu bobun?” Or how about the first convo I had when I got out of the airport and went up to a man and asked, “Hi, excuse me, do you know where the metro is?” to which he responds “There is no metro here.” I then notice he worked for the airport taxi service. “No I know you have a local train into Paris, I’ve taken it a gajillion times.” He responds, “Oh, well you didn’t say local train, you said metro.” You know what I meant. I then took the RER B into Paris.

But then you get in the train, and it’s like NOBODY NOTICES THAT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO AIRFLOW IN THE TRAIN. We all just sit in there, sweating through our shirts and looking miserable. I know I’m not a high-maintenance person, but when there’s something so simple as opening a window in a subway car, or leaving the door or windows open in a restaurant, for the benefit of the greater good, why isn’t it natural for it to happen here?

le pavilion des canaux

Proper opening of a window for air flow [Paris, August 2016]

Picking on Paris is clearly one of my favorite things to do while I’m here. For Frenchies, the USA is the ultimate easy target (how could it not be when a man like Donald Trump is a legitimate presidential candidate). My French friends always make comments on how we tip for everything, how portion sizes are ridiculously generous, or how there’s extreme air conditioning everywhere – and it’s all pretty true. So for me, when I’m in Paris, I like to return the favor. Paris has become the little brother I never had that I continuously make fun of, snark at, and shrug off…yet deep down still love. I justify it all by comin’ back over and over again.

No but all joking aside, every time I come back to Paris, it seems to me that the city becomes more and more livable (aside from arguing with anyone working in French “customer service”). You can live here, in the city center in a humble studio apartment (ahem, on the fifth floor) for less than $500 a month. I barely even drink, but I’m half-tempted to, every time I see I can get a vin rouge for €2.50 at a decent bar. The monthly unlimited metro pass was recently made cheaper (like, whaaat) so everyone could get around easier (€73 a month). They close down major streets like the Champs Elysées once a month in an effort to prioritize the pedestrian over cars and pollution – and they’re trying to take it all to the next level by closing the streets that border the Seine only to pedestrians. Going to the cinema is a real option for a weekly thing to do alone or with friends – at only €4.95 a movie at most MK2 movie theaters. The idea of going to coffee shops and chilling with your laptop is gaining popularity – as well as juice places, vegetarian food, and gyms. Because of all of this, you can see why Mayor Anne Hidalgo is now one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter.

There are so many things Paris does right, that the US could learn from, and vice-versa. I don’t know how many more times I’ll come back before it’s “enough,” but for now, I guess my relationship with Paris will continue as any little brother-big brother relationship would. It’ll be rocky, but I’ll continue loving it.

I’ll just have to find a way to get over the fact that none of the restaurants or subways seem to have adequate air flow.

But only after being super French and complaining about it.

Ok, really, I’ll stop.

Until next time Paris,

Bisous

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Where do you keep going back to?

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  • MissLilly

    You should definitely consider living in Paris, at least for 1 year or 2, I’m sure it would be an amazing experience. I didn’t like Paris that much the first time I went there which was when I’ve organised my parents 25 anniversary. But after keep on coming back for works reasons I start to really enjoy the city and yes it’s a city like no other. Same as you I end up moaning about the lack of courtesy somethings and the horrible smell in the underground (still refuse to touch the doors to open them), but it’s Paris after all!

  • FScott Hennessy

    Damon,

    How do you find an apartment at that price?

  • Andreuw Maza’

    Berlin and Praha, I’m just madly in love

  • Catherine Koo

    Faro, Portugal 🙂

  • dws

    Dubai and Barcelona 🙂

  • Heejeong Baldree

    NYC and Playa Del Carmen I know these two have nothing in common but it makes me choosing one or the other impossible

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