• S. Parris

Parris in Paris!

This is a long overdue post I've been wanting to share for about 2 months now! Here's some of the highlights of my very first trip out of the United States, to Paris, France.


Planning this trip was a walk in the park for me. I had originally decided I would go alone, to take everything in and not have to worry about accommodating others. Of course, like most moms, mine seen "Taken" too many times and invited herself for my safety and her peace of mind. The price of the flight/hotel combination was very reasonable in my opinion, mainly because we booked way in advance and had plenty time to pay it before going on the actual trip. We booked the trip for November, in February which allotted us plenty of time to research activities, restaurants, and site seeing for our itinerary.


Itinerary

I planned this trip to celebrate my 24th birthday, so I wanted to enjoy all Paris had to offer. I was only going to be there for 4 days, so I jam-packed my itinerary into a few days. Originally, I planned to spend my third day in London, UK, but the train tickets from Paris to London that day were literally more expensive than a flight. I'd say they were around $400+ roundtrip. Cancelled!


Creating the itinerary was fairly easy for me, being that Yelp is my best friend. Once I booked the hotel (Hotel Mercure Paris Alessia), I pretty much mapped out nearby restaurants with great reviews. Here was my original itinerary:


Day 1:

- Check-In

- Eiffel Tower

- Dinner at Caffé Creole


Day 2:

- Louvre Museum

-Arc de Triomphe

- Dinner at Malibu


Day 3: (London, UK)

- Take Eurostar to London

- Big Ben

- Buckingham Palace

- London Eye

- Dinner at Rum's Kitchen


I should have put emphasis on original being that we were barely able to follow it. Day 1 went perfectly fine, which I was happy about being that was my actual birthday. The Eiffel Tower was breathtaking, and dinner at Caffé Creole was great. I made the executive decision prior to traveling to Paris, that I only wanted to patronize black owned restaurants while visiting (we'll get back to that). Day 2 started on the right track, with the Louvre Museum, however, our body-clocks were extremely off track, which made traveling to the Arc de Triomphe out of the question that day (we were exhausted). It was VERY cold in France, which took away from wanting to use public transportation to travel and see more sites. For dinner, I had my heart set on Malibu, which to my understanding was supposed to be an African-French cuisine restaurant. I got voted out of it (one very big con of traveling with other people), and instead we ate at THE most American restaurant you can probably find in France: Hard Rock Cafe Paris. Although I was a little mad that I was giving my Euros to a large American food chain, the food was good and we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Now, day three is approaching, and that's what I was the most excited about. France was cool and all, but I saw everything I wanted to see there, and was ready to take London by the boot straps. That is until, I saw those overpriced train tickets. I had searched train tickets via Eurostar months before the trip, and roundtrip was around $100USD at that time. I'm not sure what circumstances changed, but flight priced train tickets was where I drew the line. I'll have to visit London on a separate occasion. So instead of going to London our third day, we basically just caught up on sleep and returned to Caffé Creole for dinner.



Summary of my experience


Hotel

The hotel we stayed in was considered to be a boutique hotel. The amenities were pretty much to my standards with the exception of no one ever hearing of a wash cloth (not kidding). We had towels and hand towels but NO wash cloths. I was very concerned with how people bath in France, but that's a conversation for another day. Just keep it in mind if you ever travel there. The Mercure Hotel Paris Alessia offered free breakfast in the mornings, which consisted of assorted bread options, fruit, coffee, tea, juice. I can't remember if I saw anything that resembled a "continental" breakfast, but those were the basics. Check-in and check-out was perfectly fine, and the staff was very friendly. I would recommend.


Culture

Paris reminded me SO much of NYC. It felt very much the same. There were lots of buildings, pedestrians, traffic, Ubers, food options. They even have a "metro". It's a LOT cleaner than NYC subways, for sure. But their subways are very easy to use, and convenient. Most of the locals there were unfriendly, in my opinion. This is not to offend anyone, but just my experience. Employees in restaurants, stores, Ubers etc. weren't up to my standard of customer service, with the exception of Caffe Creole and our hotel staff. It didn't bother me, mainly because I live in one of the unfriendliest cities in the world.

The language barrier was not as much of a problem as I thought it would be. Many French people speak English; so it was a rare occasion that we could not communicate with someone. Although I tried to learn as much French a possible before visiting, having to have a full blown conversation was harder than I thought! I definitely felt that American privilege of going to other countries expecting people to speak your home language; but I did make great effort to speak French whenever the opportunity came.


Overall my experience was very interesting. This was my first time traveling abroad, so I got to see what going through customs is like and what the overall experience of being an "outsider" was like for the first time in my life. In the end, I was glad my family decided to come with me, regardless of our "where are we going to eat" quarrels. The flight going was about 6.5 hours and coming home was about 8, which wasn't as bad as I thought, being the longest flight I've ever taken.

I would recommend Paris to anyone who hasn't been, especially if you don't mind experiencing new and different food. Would I go back? Maybe, but it would definitely have to be in the Summer or Spring!


I hope you enjoyed this recap of my trip to Paris.


Au revoir,


S. Parris


Photos