I have found myself, as of late, often at a loss for words. A large factor may be due to the harsh and forcible realization that only occurred to me about two weeks ago: I don’t actually speak French. Sure, I could spout those grammar rules at you and conjugate those verbs like no one’s business. But when I am faced with a real, live, painfully glamorous and chic French person with a single raised eyebrow and pouted lips, no, I do not speak French. So as I bumble and mumble my way through the currently-frozen streets of Paris, I offer you a brief photo tour.
1. Café au lait. Drink in small cups, sip silently and ideally over the course of a two-hour long conversation with friends.
2. The Eiffel Tower. Which despite the fact that it was a temporary fixture that the French were too lazy to take down – as I am told by my friends who are apparently getting bored of the thousand snapchats I’ve sent them titled “selfie with eiffel tower” – still knocks my socks off every time I see it.
3. Tuileries Ferris Wheel. The irony, we realized, of climbing the Eiffel Tower to look out over Paris is that the skyline you are seeing doesn’t quite resemble Paris because there is a very key element missing from it: the Eiffel Tower. For a picturesque and tower-inclusive view, we hiked it up the ferris wheel in the Tuileries. Just as the sun set. While eating crepes and drinking espresso.
4. La Durée. I felt like I had found a tiny piece of heaven that happened to be edible. They call this magic “macaroons”. The first time I had one, I had eight…
5. Windy cobblestone side streets. Ignore the fact that snowflakes keep flying in your eyes and you can’t feel your hands, feet, or face. Because what you can see beyond the white frozen ice that is covering this city is stunning.
6. The unnamed but imposing church that you stumble upon as you trudge through the three inches of ice and snow at three-thirty in the morning because, as anyone in Paris will tell you–loudly and proudly, as if savoring their ability to shatter your adorable american naiveté – you will not find a cab in Paris after midnight. If you do find an open cab they will tell you to pay thirty dollars up front for a ten dollar cab ride and when you say “no, that’s absurd” in your attempt at a snobby french accent, they will open the door and kick you out. So that you will trudge through three inches of snow and ice for several hours looking for a way home and you will stumble upon this church.