It was my dream to go to Paris since I was a young teenager. Few years ago my dream finally came true! Thanks to my work and a huge amount of luck I made it to Charles De Gaulle Airport directly from DFW. While many people who visited Paris in the past have warned me about the hostility of the Frenchmen, I was very confident I will prove just the opposite.
To my complete surprise the Taxi cab I took from the airport to the hotel was a Czech-made Skoda Octavia, and the driver was Egyptian. As soon as I arrived to the hotel, I took a deep breath of the French air filled with a cannonade of words sounding like a balsam to my tired head. Jealous of the fluency of the staff’s speech, I mumbled my “Bonjour” and few more basics and accompanied it with the best smile I could produce after not sleeping for over 24 hours.
I have experienced the feeling of uncertainty due to the communication barrier before, when I came to the USA without knowing much English. This was a French version of my déjà-vu! The French were better than me! They greeted one with a smile and continued in English! Since my room wasn’t ready yet, I have decided to go for a walk around the hotel’s neighborhood. I came to Place du Trocadero, plaza with a few cafés, National Theater building and a breath-taking view of the Eiffel Tower.
The most wonderful activity one can do while in Paris is to sit down on the crowded patio of one of the street cafés and watch people as they pass by. The French seem to really LIVE! They move around very fast and with a confidence. Everyone has a style and everyone is unique. (And everyone knows it!) Jeans of all colors, tiny jackets, sunglasses, messy, yet elegant hairdos, and scarfs, scarfs, scarfs! Despite their swift little steps, the French still find the time to enjoy lunch or sip their Kir with a group of friends after work. One cannot help but wonder why is it that these French seem to know more about the joys of daily life than we do!
Of course I went to see the Eiffel Tower up close; I visited Sacré Cœur, walked around Notre Dame and even got to see Mona Lisa en face à face. As much as I admire these symbols of the city of love, they were not the main focus of my glorious trip. I was much more interested in the simple every-day kind of things. So I watched the old lady getting impatient with her waiter, clapping her hands and calling him “Garçon!”; I saw a woman holding an empty shopping bag above her head when it started to rain with a lid cigarette between her lips as she walked by. There were people constantly eating something, and pouring water out of tall and slim glass jars. There were fresh flowers, fresh vegetables and the largest variety of desserts I have ever seen.
Paris makes one drunk! As I was returning to reality, I felt the ugly hang-over. At the airport I walked directly to the biggest sign with “Check-in” on it. I have ignored the two guards with machine guns and as I have been practicing my entire trip, I smiled and carried on. A gentleman started questioning me about my luggage and my whereabouts prior to my arrival to the airport. Since this was nothing new to me due to a fairly frequent international traveling, I had no problem answering. I must admit I was somewhat puzzled when he asked me what I will be doing in Jerusalem! Soon I discovered I was at a check-in booth for ISRAIR!!!
Embarrassed I dragged my feet – and my suitcase – to American Airlines ticket counter. Luckily, I was not escorted by the guards! And here I am, back to DFW, sad to leave my beloved Europe but inspired by my miniature French vacation… With a few words of wisdom for our readers:
- Sometimes we attempt to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower not realizing that the most beautiful part may be the Eiffel Tower itself…
- What makes something timeless is a little bit of a mystery behind its story, n’est pas, Mona Lisa…
- Every French woman knows that if something took a long time for us to finally get, we should cherish it! And that includes wrinkles!
- Don’t ever set a limit to how many times you will see your Arc de Triomphe!
- No matter which bank of the Seine you may be at, you will never step into the same river twice.
- Sometimes allow yourself to be hysterically historical – like the Luxor Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own “scandal du jour” and your mistakes. The French would just shake their head and lit a cigarette. C’est la vie!
- And most importantly – from now on start carrying all your sweet teeth with you because a little dessert never hurt anyone! D’accord?