Paris, the city of love, is undoubtedly a beautiful place worth visiting. However, after moving in I soon discovered that Paris is not all about boulevards and fashion. In fact, I have not seen much of either, instead, I experienced the cruel reality and had to reconsider my views.
My first days in Paris was like climbing up a hill (quite literally as there are no lifts in the whole of Paris). You struggle all the way up but once you are there, all pain is forgotten. Packing, moving, finding a place to live and going through all the paperwork was a struggle, but once I entered the door of my new brightly-lit apartment, the feeling of happiness and excitement overshadowed the fear of entering a new life stage and becoming a stranger in a new city once again.
Despite all the warnings, Parisians turned out to be extremely helpful, warm-hearted, and generous people. Of course, there are the odd garçons with nothing better to do than to check you out and shoot some inappropriate comments in your direction. Luckily, my understanding of French restricted my full comprehension.
What I learnt so far in the streets of Paris is that the everyday vocabulary to get you around is – un, merci, pardon. And by ‘everyday’ situations I mean not only the compulsory visits to the cafes, brasseries and boulangeries, but also the words that you overhear on the streets, such as the “charmante” and “belle”. It can be flattering at times, and helps you to fight the shyness and take a first step in the right direction (perhaps towards your French fluency).
“Parisians turned out to be extremely helpful, warm-hearted, and generous people.”
Paris, in many ways, reminds me of London. The division, the vibe, the atmosphere. Like the British capital, different parts of the town are inhabited by different communities and, therefore, maintain their unique atmosphere. The north part, for example, is the home to the African community, whilst the East is an up-and-coming area accommodating many quirky artists and non-judgemental hipster bars. The culture scene is nearly as vivid as London’s but what makes the city really stand out from the rest of its European counterparts are the sunsets.
They do not call Paris the city of love for no reason. It does make you think about where is the loved one who could you share all these beautiful moments with? Let’s not get all soppy, Paris is beautiful, strolling down around the Eiffel Tower or absorbing the views from Montmartre, but as soon as you get back down to the ground (or even below), you will soon realise that it is not all hearts and smiles. Paris can stink, it can smell as hell, and has a lot of strange people asking you for sex. Well, I guess that is love for you!