Paris, day 0.5: sleepy plane delays, pigeon pick-up lines and French architecture so gorgeous it makes you want to cry

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Rather than tell you the story about how my flight from Montreal to Paris was delayed by four hours last night, I’m just going to skip to the fun part: Paris itself. (all you must know about my delayed travels is that I miserably gravol-ed myself prematurely last night and paid the cost by passing out several times in different positions on airport chairs) (thank god they were leather and comfy).

I landed in Paris today at just after 3:30 local time. Following what seemed like endless signs to the Paris train station to go downtown, I finally got to the main transport terminal. Here, I was met with the task of purchasing my metro tickets, something which took me all of half an hour and caused several exasperated sighs. After about five attempts to walk into the I-will-not-budge-ever metro gates, I realized that I needed a different, more expensive ticket to take me from the airport downtown. I blame my lack of rationality on my sleep-deprived state.

ANYWAYS, I successfully navigated by way through the surprisingly easy to understand Paris underground system and found myself, a short hour later, at my hostel in the 14th arrondissement.

Since I had been in commute for more than 15 hours, I took a well deserved shower before deciding to head back out and explore.

After much negotiation over where to visit, I finally settled on taking the C-line train along the Seine, in hopes of catching a late evening view of the Musee d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower.

Rule #1 about travel: things never go as planned.

Meaning to transfer onto the yellow C-line at the St-Michel Notre-Dame metro station, I was distraught to see that every sign that once held directions to my desired route was crossed off with some sort of electrical tape.

Alright, you win some you lose some. There will be plenty more days for tourist sight-seeing. Instead, I decided to wander.

Turns out that I had landed in the perfect Parisian neighborhood. Everything was exactly as I would have thought it to be – detailed architecture, cafe and restaurant patios, couples making out EVERYWHERE, Vespas and pigeons.

At the same time, there were also the not-so-romanticized parts of the city – girls eating McDonald’s on the edge of ornate flower beds, a woman in purple sweatpants chain smoking out her window…

Nonetheless, Paris is what it is, and I am already starting to love it for that reason.

Lost in translation (and just lost)
Continuing my wandering, I promptly got lost. I have slowly began to realize that my life is in shambles without 3G access and the guiding light of Google Maps.

But do not fret.

I swear that Paris must be the only city in the universe where you can be completely lost, and somehow still find yourself eating a crepe while sitting on the bank of the Seine. If this is lost, I never want to be found.

Oh right, I also stumbled onto a major Parisian landmark, the Notre Dame Cathedral. I’m not sure how that happened, but I made sure to take enough touristy photos to make my dad proud.

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What’s the French word for creepy?
In other news, Paris is certainly living up to its reputation of being the city of love (and not just because couples were making out everywhere).

I’m chalking this up to the fact that I’m a young girl strolling around Paris with map and camera in hand (read: I am the ultimate tourist), but I got picked up an insane amount of times tonight. And by that, I mean twice. Which is pretty good for me, okay?

My first courtier was Antonio, a creepy old man who led me around to the back of the Notre Dame touting its “photographic aesthetics.” I promptly told him I had to go and meet my family, and ran away to take refuge in a group of children who were playing with bubbles.

The next lover-boy, Sammy, was the perfect example of a smooth-talking Parisians. He ACTUALLY used a situation in which a pigeon almost flew into me as a pick-up line. After discovering my French left something to be desired, he continued to speak to me in broken English for the next half hour, lead me to the correct metro station entrance and frequently touch my arm in a way that only the French can touch strangers. Mon dieu.

Overall, I had a great first day in Paris. My hostel is AWESOME (pictures to come tomorrow) and I can’t wait to explore more of the city. Also, I’m meeting Natalie tomorrow and we’re going vintage shopping and macaron-eating. Can’t wait.

PS: sorry about the pictures, I looked ridiculous trying to snap shots on both my iPhone and actual camera. This is the result of the former.

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