So here I am at Day 17, and I feel like I live here. I hardly need maps to find my way around anymore, and I know all the routes to get back to my Airbnb. It’s really an amazing feeling to be this comfortable in a city that is not actually home.
I only have 3 full days left, and just as a few of my good friends predicted, I am not ready to leave. I absolutely adore it here. I’m not sure if I would change my tune if I actually had to work while living here, but spending these past few weeks leisurely walking through the streets of Paris have been an absolute dream.
Roger left a week ago, and I’ve been wandering on my own since. It was the leg of my trip that I was looking forward to most, and it’s been everything I wanted so far. I kicked it off by shopping, of course. (And let’s be honest, was anyone surprised by that?) Last year, I didn’t have time to do much perusing, so this time around I methodically went to all the top department stores (Le Bon Marché, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, and Bazaar de l’Hotel de Ville — aka BHV), and big shopping areas like Rue Saint-Honoré, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue des Champs-Elysées and Le Marais. As luck would have it, all the department stores and quite a few shops in Le Marais were having 30-50% off sales. I’m not sure why this past week was so special, but hey, I wasn’t complaining!
I also took a journey out to Giverny to see Monet’s garden. I was really proud of myself for not only waking up before dawn, but for also figuring out the train system to get me there. I will blog about this little side-trip in depth later, including the transit details for those of you who might be interested in a future visit!
In between the shopping and my jaunt over to Giverny, I’ve been taking full advantage of the many parks at my disposal and trying to visit at least one a day to read and people-watch. I love that Parisians do this, spending hours in the sun. There are always people of all ages jogging, reading books, sun bathing, and picnicking, but what surprised me most were all the families with young children. Back home in the Bay Area, most parents just shove smartphones and tablets in their children’s faces to keep them quiet (especially at restaurants) but here, families actually act like families. Parents play with their children and encourage interaction with other kids. It reminded me of how things were when I was growing up, when there was no technology to rely on to stay connected. Sadly, it also put into perspective of how dependent we really have become.
I am totally guilty of this back home; my iPhone is usually glued to my hand or within arm’s reach at any given time. However, here in Paris with my pitiful international calling/data plan, my phone has held far less value, and as a result, stays in my bag most of the day. It’s been fantastic to be disconnected from work, and surprisingly enough, it has also been nice to be disconnected from Facebook and Instagram (omg, did I really just say that?) when I’m not home in my Airbnb, connected to wifi.
I’m slowly going through the thousands of photos I’ve taken (no, that is not an exaggeration), and I promise to post them in the coming weeks after I return home. To tide you over, here are a few snaps I took in week 1.
For those of you back home, hope you are enjoying your long weekend! :)