‘Paris is a dream.’
What an overused, yet extremely accurate description of such an astonishing city. My first encounter with the City of Love in 2018 was pretty underwhelming and quite terrifying, however, I decided to give it another shot.
It most definitely did not disappoint.
Before I get started, I want to say that sometimes the worst situations turn into the most fun. This is also known as “type II fun,” which was something I learned from a dear friend in the French Riviera (a story for another day).
With that being said, shortly after landing in the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, I received a message via Airbnb from the host saying that there was a leak in the apartment (that had already been paid for in full), and that I could stay in the spare room of their house for the entirety of my trip.
Okay, now that may seem very hospitable to an outsider, and especially to someone like me from the southern United States, however, I still had a bad taste in my mouth from my last visit to this city and I decided to trust my gut and request a cancellation and full refund.
This is where type II fun comes in.
Before going to Paris, I reached out to a Parisian friend of mine who had participated in a foreign exchange program with a family from my hometown. At the time, I could hardly call him a friend, in fact, I barely knew him. Luckily, I already had plans to join him for dinner that day and upon our meeting, he immediately notified his mother of my unfortunate situation and she opened their home to me – a stranger.
Before this moment, my perception of Parisians was very warped. I took one terrible incident and the hear-say from fellow travelers and made the generalization that French people were cold, distant and far from amiable. I had never been so relieved to be so wrong.
I was welcomed into the home of my (now) friend and his lovely mother, and the stay exceeded any and every expectation I had. I was treated with a cultural experience that one can only stumble upon. It was filled with language, history and best of all – food. There is just something enchanting about watching a French woman prepare a meal saying ‘voila!’ every few seconds.
Did I mention that I ate the best croissant of my life?
I was gifted a difficult situation that turned into an unforgettable adventure.
I look forward to my next encounter with La Ville-Lumiere.