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Why I fell in love with Paris

Why I fell in love with Paris

Arc de triomphe, Paris

Paris. The all enchanting romantic city. The city of charm and sexy seduction. Well that's what they say, isn't it? Before I'd visited Paris for myself I must admit, I was a cynic. As wonderfully as I'd ever heard Paris described, I always silently thought that people fell in love with Paris because they really wanted to. To a degree, I still believe that's true, but the important thing to note is that I fell in love with Paris when I had every expectation that this would not be the case.

Besides all the raving and loving reviews I'd heard from friends and family who'd visited the romance capital, the only real criticism I'd ever heard was the notorious attitude of the French towards the English language. They can't speak it, and even if they could, they wouldn’t, so they say. Although this is not true in all cases, in most circumstances this is exactly what I encountered. The strangest part of all, was that this is what made the city all the more endearing to me.

The Moulin Rouge, Paris

While in Paris, I was forced by the French to learn a little of their language and to practice it often. While in other countries that I’d visited, I'd been able to survive with an innocent smile and an uneducated pronunciation of ‘hello’ in the local tongue, the French would have none of it. I recall entering a Café and asking “Do you have internet here?” and having an exquisite looking French woman look at me distastefully and sharply respond, “No”. Slightly disheartened (as the hostel receptionist had told me that the café next door did in fact have internet access), I left. I had a quick flick through my phrase book and returned later to the same café. With terrible pronunciation I’m sure, I asked “Avez-vous internet?” to a smiling French gentleman who quickly responded (in English no less!) “Yes! Do you want a coffee?” and offered me the Wi-Fi password without further enquiry.

The Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

Being forced to learn and speak French (and I’ll admit that it was the most basic of basic language skills that I attained during my visit), helped me to truly feel more acquainted with the beautiful city that it is. And it truly is a beautiful city. Sure the Eiffel tower really is an odd looking piece of architecture, but it is what surrounds that chocolate-coloured metallic monument that makes it so special. It is the way it excites people, the way tourists pose in front of it, picnic around it, and buy cheap souvenirs from illegal vendors patrolling it. In essence, it is not the tower itself that is so special but the way it affects people when they see it. When I saw it up close for the first time I really had to take a moment to truly absorb my setting, because I was looking at a piece of architecture that I’d seen a hundred times in films and TV shows, and a hundred times more in family and friends photographs and the truth is, that is what made it so wonderful.

The Eiffel Tower

It was only a few short days that I spent in that mesmerizing, colourful city, but as any backpacker will tell you, you sure can see and experience a lot in a few days if you set your mind to it. So here are a few of my amateur happy snaps to show how without even trying, Paris so effortlessly took up residence in my heart.

Eiffel Tower
The Sacre Coeur
The Lourve
Merry-go-round, Paris
Finding Peace in Ireland

Finding Peace in Ireland

A reflective trip through Auschwitz-Birkenau

A reflective trip through Auschwitz-Birkenau