It doesn’t matter what you do in Paris

February 1, 2015

Louvre

The quality of my room doesn’t matter. The fact that I used my free nights’ rewards from spending with my Chase Hyatt Visa for two days in the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome is irrelevant. The fact I was given a free upgrade to a suite which costs upwards of 1000€/night means nothing. As do the perks of having enough space to move around, soak in a hot bath, and relax in a study without a bed in sight.

Eye of Paris

Walking the streets of Paris doesn’t matter. Even though it’s been predominantly rainy and around freezing temperatures during my stay, the city is as beautiful as every American imagines it is in dreams that have not yet been realized. Some spend their entire lives wishing they could go to Paris, and I did it for less than $200, including splurging on a meal of wild boar and escargot at Le Mesturet. The streets are impossibly historic with every step along the Seine, from the cobblestones beneath one’s toes to the central spire of Notre Dame, stretching to the sky.

Notre Dame

The richness in each bite of food doesn’t matter. Eclairs, crepes with Nutella, pain au chocolate, cupcakes from Beauty Cakes and smoothies from My Kitch’n near Brochant Station. The lady at the boulangerie remarking on how difficult a choice it was to choose between pastries.

The fact I fit in at face value doesn’t matter. I’ve been mistaken for a local more times in Paris than I ever have abroad. Running in the Bois de Boulogne, someone stopped me mid stride to ask for directions. On the Pont du Carrousel, a Spanish-speaking tourist approached and asked if I could help him find a certain street. I’ve even carried a fresh baguette under my arm and walked down the street, umbrella in hand. I may not have the wardrobe to pull off the standard European look – i.e. drab colours, usually involving a black overcoat, grey v-neck sweater, white business shirt, dark pants, and black fashionable shoes (not hiking boots) – but I look German enough to make locals question what language might first come out of my mouth.

The eccentricities of life in Europe don’t matter. The fact that showers here lack curtains and don’t really protect bathroom floors from splatter, nor the fact doors tend to be pushed from the outside is irrelevant. Lights go out on the metro map as you pass approaching stations, not light up. The fact the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour every night, or offers one of the most magnificent views in the city doesn’t matter.

None of these things matter.

The facts are: I didn’t get much sleep the night before I left London. I didn’t eat much all day. It was cold, rainy, and I didn’t have a hoodie or hat as I walked to see the sights. Everything is expensive. I couldn’t even appreciate going through the chunnel, as most of the journey was overland in France.

Nevertheless, it was one of the best days of my life.

Perspective is everything.

Everything others consider annoying, pointless, or capable of ruining a trip can be good with the right person at your side.

Eiffel Tower

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