It's been a little over a week since my travel mate and I arrived in France. The time has crept by like light years. So fast. It's not a bad thing. I can't tell. I'm zooming along with the present. I had grand expectations for myself and my thinking after deciding to exchange my Brooklyn life for a much different one in the most romantic city in the world for a month. To call Paris the "City of Lights" is an understatement. It's illuminating. Cupid lives here. From the countless couples exchanging conversations in front of cafes to the women that tug their beaus by the hand for brief kiss, there is love on just about every corner. It's true. The cafes are indeed the living rooms of Paris. Even on the chilliest nights, you'll find droves of Parisians lounging outside at a cafe with blankets and heat lamps. Parisians love to converse. It's all about the conversation. Human interaction. And, Parisians love New Yorkers. To the Parisian, the New Yorker is funky cold medina. There's no such thing as time in this magical city. I've yet to see business men running like bulls near the financial district or in combat for a taxi.
Before I arrived, I was told to expect the French to be arrogant, especially because I couldn't master their language. It's quite the opposite. With as little as "Bonjour," everyone has been quite sanguine and ready, willing, and able to help. Everyone rides a bike, the young and old considering it's less expensive at 1 Euro to rent one for the day than riding the Metro. The cyclists ride with an indifference I've never seen before. Buses and heavy traffic don't scare them. They ride along with traffic, alongside buses, and sometimes on the busy sidewalks of Le Marais. But, no one curses at each other. There's room for everyone. You'll find your bank executive to even the most extravagant dressed woman riding her bike in the city with her pumps and a satchel.
On days where I just need to rest, I love sitting in the attic apartment and listening to hustle and bustle of our neighborhood in Central Paris. Horns, shouting, and scooters zooming by. This could quite possibly become my favorite city in the world. I have to take deep breath when I round a corner and realize the Eiffel Tower is sparkling back at me. Or, when I'm wandering aimlessly in the evening and remember that the beautiful river flowing right next to me is the Seine. It makes me stop and think how amazing it is to be alive. I've eased into local life, trips to the boulangerie for a foot long piece of a crispy crusted baguette, chocolat au viennoise with friends and wine during any time of the day.
My single time in Paris has been amazing. Of course, I drool over couples necking or making a commitment to their love by locking it along the Seine. But, Paris is a great destination for the solo traveller and single woman. You don't have to try so hard to meet people. Some are just dying to practice their English with you, hear more about the United States and just connect. The men are friendly. I've danced with almost everyone to dated American hits. I feel pretty and fabulous everyday of the week. I smile more and at strangers. I wave enthusiastically with every "Au revoir." I'm able to put myself first and do whatever makes me happy. Most importantly, I'm getting to know myself.
The ecstasy of the city hasn't even begun to fade. In fact, it engulfs you you. As a single woman in Paris, I feel an intense love for myself. I was beating myself up for not sitting down to write and post pictures more frequently, but I realized I've just been living my best French life. Criticizing and being disappointed in myself is unproductive and not going to produce inspired behavior. I've let go of my expectations. After all if you don't think you're worthy in your heart, you're not going to receive. I want all of the juicy goodness that the City of Lights has to offer.
You can catch my travel mate's, Lyneka, experience at paristobk.blogspot.com.