I hate Paris. [a journal entry from my travels]
Author's Note: This post is a journal entry written on June 26, 2014 from the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France. Embarrassed though I am to post this, I think many of you might be able to relate and hopefully find it humorous. The entry chronicles a day in Paris where, though I was blessed to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world with my best friend, I had such a sour puss attitude thanks to an unfortunate series of events. For the record, I love Paris - it's one of my favorite cities in the world.
I hate Paris.
It all began this morning at 7:45am...
My alarm takes pleasure in metaphorically poking me until I wake up - an irritation that I have pleasantly not had to deal with over the course of the earlier half of my stay here in Paris. I oblige and tug on some shorts and a t-shirt before grabbing my phone, keys and some cash and jog down to the local grocery store for some breakfast. I round the corner to find the usually-bustling street curiously dead. As I peer into the window, I turn to see a lady walking into a side-door with a carton of fruit. It was three minutes till 8:00am and I figured they opened around then and I would just wait. With a smile and a "Bonjure!", I ask the woman if the store would open soon. She rattled off something in French.
"Ma'am?", I ask.
She repeats her foreign phrase.
"Ya! Ya! Go. *Insert more French phrases here*"
I jog back to the apartment, bummed but not dejected! I still had some pound cake left.
After taking a shower and getting dressed, Micah and I head over to the metro and walk a short ways to Notre Dame Cathedral to climb the bell towers! We show up 15 minutes early hoping to beat at least some of the tourist crowd... not sure what we were thinking. Tourists lined the left side of the Cathedral for what seemed like a mile.
"Definitely not ideal... but I can wait!"
This was literally the only thing besides the Eiffel Tower that I had on my to-do list for Paris and I wasn't going to miss it due to a long line. We promptly snag our place in line as it was rapidly lengthening and pulled out some notebooks to journal as we wait. After about 10 minutes, we see a family come from the front of the line and they announce that the workers had gone on strike.
"Those selfish rats." (Author's Note: not a precise transcription of what I was thinking)
Excuse my French (pun intended). Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't deserve their higher wages or whatever they were striking for. I'm simply thinking there are more creative ways to make their demands without as many civilian casualties. I paid good money to come to Paris and it would be much appreciated if I could at least see the one attraction that was on my list.
"Too much to ask? Pardon'."
Our next course of action would have been to spend some time at the Louvre but since their little buddies over at the Cathedral wanted their morning off, they had to get in on that action. Strike number 2. (Pun definitely intended) We settle on the Orsay and tunnel down into the nearest RER station. After using our ticket to get through, we find out that the available line doesn't service the Orsay and it was nearly impossible to find a connecting path that didn't take us halfway across the city and back. Oh, and we lost our map.
We hop on the train, haphazardly hoping for the best, determined not to waste our ticket. Luxembourg? Sure, sounds like a good place to stop to me. We get out and go to the information desk for a new map. Consulting the tangled web of coloured lines, we decipher that we need to take the yellow 27 line which will lead us straight to the Orsay. Perfect!
The stairwell next to us had a sign beckoning us to climb it with full promises that we would find line 27 at its peak. Ascending the stairs, however, we walk into the laughing, finger-pointing sunlight as if Paris was saying, "Ha! Jokes on you." Literally no "Line 27" signs anywhere. Not entirely sure of anything, much less our direction, we cross the street and turn right. Then, looking to our left, we see a garden, enclosed behind a 10-foot wrought iron fence; the Luxembourg Gardens. Ahhhhh... acres of beautiful landscaping, fountains, naked statues and lush greenery for our pleasure. An oasis in my desert. We detour (can it legitimately be called a detour when we had no direction to begin with?) through to the sound of a Yiddish coming-of-age chanting ceremony and plop down in some chilled metal lounge chairs in the shade. As I rest my eyes I think, for now at least, I don't hate Paris.
Jacob Jolibois is the founder of The Archer's Guild. He has a habit of starting a large number of projects and is oddly enthusiastic about Disney. Ultimately, he's hoping to rid the world of mediocrity, lots of people at a time (one is too slow). Recently, he backpacked across 11 countries with Micah Webber.