I went to Paris last weekend and I figured I would make a few comments on my experience there since it seems to have been generally misrepresented by unfair stereotypes (at least from my personal experience). The main one being that the people would be rude and cold. However, the people in general were very welcoming, especially the couchsurfer I stayed with and another French girl who was couchsurfing as well (can I just say right here how much I truly love couchsurfing and how great it is? Really, if you just take a second to check it out you can do it anywhere and meet the very best people! Seriously. Do it!). They were all very nice and generous even though I blundered around like an idiot and no one seemed snobby at all. If anything, I envy the French their language because not only does everything they say sound elegant and beautiful, but when they are mad the language sounds like it cuts to the quick in the most furious and beautiful way. One of my new life goals is to learn enough French to use it when I am really mad haha. Its a compliment, really!
Oh, and the Louvre has a second entrance in the garden area, just ask where it is to one of the people who are moderating the mile long line and they´ll tell you! I walked in immediately instead of waiting for 2 hours.
A couple fun facts: I jumped a turnstile in the metro because there weren´t any machines we saw to buy a ticket (I felt pretty awesome) but we only did it once and because it was necessary :). Also, the chinese food is very different and although the spring rolls in particular look the same as ours, the French wrap the roll with a peice of mint (the herb) and a peice of lettuce on the outside! It was actually quite delicious and the Chinese restaurant provided the lettuce and mint. You may be wondering why on earth I was eating chinese on my first trip to Paris but let me just assure you that I had plenty of the pastries from Paris and OH MY they were absolutely heavenly! Put everything I have tried in Spain to absolute shame (sorry Spain, you know I love you, it´s just different).
But my favorite part of the trip was definitely when we went to this bridge that had chain link fencing, which looks odd at first in the midst of so many gorgeous and stately buildings, but when you get closer you begin to see hundreds and hundreds of locks littering the chain link- from classic locks you see on sheds to high school locker locks, every size, shape and color was represented in a beautiful myriad of love and I say this because each lock had the name of two people and the date they began their relationship or the date they put the lock on the bridge. As if this wasn´t all too precious, an older couple asked us, in English, to take a picture of them and they told us their story. They were in their 50s and had met 25 years earlier and been married 22 years earlier when they placed their very first lock on the bridge and now they were recommiting themselves and put another lock on the bridge as a symbol of that commitment! Go ahead, grab a tissue and soak in how cute that is! So needless to say, this little bridge was my favorite part amidst all the art, monuments, architectural masterpeices, etc. And if I ever find myself without a job, you will be able to find me on that bridge selling locks I will buy from antique and thrift shops, as well as sharpies. Problem of possible future employment SOLVED!
It was quite wonderful, seriously. On that note, I leave Paris behind me but, of course, there was simply too much to see everything and I think I´ll just have to return someday. Oh well, thus is life :)