“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
If anyone reading this is even remotely considering going to Paris at any point in your lives, do it. Do it for as long as possible, and spend much of that trip simply walking the streets. I think the measure of a beautiful city is not what you can do inside of its buildings, but how you feel simply standing outside and looking at them. In that sense, the only word I can use to describe Paris is awe. The juxtaposition of a city this old and a city this alive still has not ceased to amaze me, and I hope it never will. Just walking through the streets and looking up is enough to make me thankful I missed Welcome Week. Almost.
Though, to be frank, a city is nothing without the people you visit it with. On that note, I have to thank AU — for once — for providing me with a great group of wingmen/women to aid me in my quest to make French women understand that I am trying to flirt with them. The quest is not going well — apparently I sound like Pepé Le Pew meets Rain Man.
It seems fairly likely that this group will keep me sane throughout my stay in Paris, if only because they tend to commit the same faux pas I do. For example, in France, do not order 50 cl of wine. That is a pint, or half a liter. Whatever system of measurement you use, the fact of the matter is that they will bring you a small bottle, and you will look like an alcoholic. Now, if your friends Megan, Kelly and Wyatt each order one, not to worry. Just spread them out amongst the table of seven, and then watch every single other table in the cafe simultaneously think, “American.”
Also, do not approach your nights out the same way you would in the States. There is no French word for “Thirsty Thursday” or “pregame.” Trust me, I checked. That is, unless you go to an English bar — which, of course, I did. It was glorious. After days of healthy food and red wine, discovering a place with 50-cent wing Mondays and 5-euro pints was like manna from heaven. I don’t think my arteries have stopped crying yet. And there was so much hope ...
Now, in its infinite wisdom, AU has decided that when you send students to Paris, you should not house them in dorms. Instead, give them homestays, throwing them into French people’s apartments. This concerns me, especially because I consider myself too self-destructive for my own apartment. As of right now, I am living with a retired older woman whose children have grown up and moved out. I will let you, my loving and devoted readership, know as soon as I am evicted.
My apartment is also a five-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. This morning I woke up to the sound of church bells. If this city becomes any more stereotypically gorgeous, I am actually going to start getting angry.
So, in summation, if you want a quick mental image of Paris, think LA Quad. Double the cigarette smoke, subtract the transports, and make Centennial and Anderson about 300 years older and slept in by one of the Napoleons. How does that not sound like the greatest city of all time? Now I need to go back to sleep. I think I have a cold. Either that, or my mother was right, and I really am allergic to culture.