Let me remind you that I hated Paris the first time I traveled there.
It downpoured for three days straight. The Euro to dollar conversion rate was ungodly hard to swallow. I was poor. My friend + I managed to run into the rudest of the rude in Paris. Not to mention, the two of us had just almost died hiking the Austrian Alps in Salzburg the day before we arrived at Paris’ Gare du Nord station and were practically assaulted by gypsies.
In short, morale was low.
But because I’m really competitive, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on Paris yet.
And I’m glad I didn’t.
Because then I wouldn’t have been able to perfect my bonjour and gain the satisfaction of having multiple French people stop to ask me – an “obnoxious, gregarious American” – for directions.
I wouldn’t have been able to drink a glass of wine with lunch and not feel like a boozy lush or enjoy the best roasted chicken and frites of my Everythingtarian life.
I wouldn’t have enjoyed real French macarons at Laduree.
I also wouldn’t have been able to hang out with Mama + Daddy E for four whole days enjoying this historically-rich city with a set of fresh new eyes.
I wouldn’t have been able to see my mother practically make out with a creepy street performer or have my father help me pose to recreate a random statue on the grounds of Marie Antoinette’s estate (or see my mother planking there, for that matter).
I wouldn’t have had this amazing meal or the unique experience of not knowing exactly what I ordered until it was set before me on the table (Googling “French food translations” helps).
My mother and I wouldn’t have been able to buy my father a trendy, tres chic sweater + scarf.
I wouldn’t have been able to marvel at all the churches…Saint Sulpice…Basilique du Sacre Coeur…Notre Dame…or Saint Chapelle, my favorite, where the stained glass mosaics of Bible stories were far too intricate, beautiful and detailed to ever put into words.
I wouldn’t have been able to witness Mama E – the most passive, non-combative person I know – become absolutely livid with our bitchy waitress (pardon my French?) after she condescendingly made us repeat, “Creeeppppeeee!” five times before accepting our simple order of one caramel + one chocolate banana crepe.
We wanted to crepe in her face…if you know what I mean.
Mama E, Daddy E and I wouldn’t have been able to spend a leisurely half day walking the grounds of Chateau de Versailles – King Louis XIV’s palacial estate located 20 kilometers outside of Paris. Most definitely of the highlights of our trip.
And while there, I wouldn’t have been able to feed my odd obsession with painted ceilings.
I wouldn’t have lost my temper with my parents (more than once…eep!).
I wouldn’t have discovered an appreciation for black espresso.
I wouldn’t have been able to eat one of the most amazing meals of my life at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Montmartre – red wine, balsamic toasted foie gras, rabbit braised in herbs and garlic, fresh vegetables and a caramelized pear tart tatin. All of which went unphotographed, all of which was promptly devoured alongside exceedingly enjoyable company.
Most importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to eat a second nutella + banana crepe.
So while I may not love Paris, I like it now…just enough to go back for a third.