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Paris, the Good and the Bad

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Paris is beautiful, but it can be hard to love.


Kelly and I went to Paris and it was a mess. Nothing was going our way. If you look at the photos we posted on social media, it probably looked idyllic, but it wasn’t. Paris can be a tough place, even for people who travel often. Kelly even studied abroad in Paris, but it felt like the city hated us.

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Paris is not an easy city. The subway map looks like someone took a 2-year-old’s scribbles and turned it into a subway system where trains never connect the way you would expect and you have to transfer two times to get anywhere.

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Many of the problems we faced were random. Kelly’s luggage got lost, and when she repeatedly called to ask for an update, the only response she received is that they didn’t know where her bag was or when she would get it – which caused stress, and fear that she would never see some of her favorite things again.

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The tour that we booked for a 90-minute ride through Paris in the sidecar of a motorcycle – something we both had been looking forward to – was cancelled just 25 minutes before the tour was scheduled to start. (We think the driver drank to much while watching the World Cup).

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Some things did go our way. The $117 a night AirBnB that I booked at the last minute was incredible!

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The listing claimed that the apartment had views of the Eiffel Tower, but I was skeptical since the photos didn’t show the view. I was thrilled when I made it to the apartment and saw the view.

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We happened to be there during a crucial World Cup game and we watched France cheer with excitement as their team won. The staff at the café across the street was so nice. I was there sipping rose while I waited for Kelly to arrive and chatted with the staff and the regulars and they were so welcoming! And every time we walked by we were greeted as if we had known them for years. After the victorious World Cup match we were met with excited hugs and offers to join the crowd for celebratory drinks.

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It was also Pride, and we loved seeing all of the decorations. We wanted to see the parade, but we missed it.

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We went to a lovely yoga class by the Eiffel Tower. Doing yoga the morning after our first night in the city helped us to stretch out after the flight and relax our minds into vacation mode.

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We discovered the most amazing sandwich stand at Les Marche des Enfants Rouges. All of the food in France is so fresh and just so superior to what we have back home.

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We discovered a little stand called Chez Alain Miam Miam where a friendly man was enthusiastically preparing sandwiches. We got to pick all of our toppings and we picked mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, avocado, scallions, and comté cheese lightly dressed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper on fresh bread.

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It was so perfectly simple and I think we could happily eat the same sandwich everyday. Apparently the sandwich shop has been named one of the best sandwich spots in Paris.

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I know that people tend to hear Paris and they instantly think of this magical romantic place that is too pretty to be real. Paris is big, crowded, hard to navigate, and when we were there it was swelteringly hot.

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Paris Syndrome is the name of the shock and disappointment that some people experience when Paris doesn’t live up to their high expectations. While Paris Syndrome isn’t recognized by the medical community, I do understand how crushing it can be when a trip doesn’t match up with the expectations that you had been looking forward to.

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Sometimes things don’t go as planned when you are traveling. I want to be honest that the two days that we spent in Paris weren’t perfect, but we made the most of them and we had fun despite some less than ideal circumstances.

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If you go to Paris, here is my advice. Definitely book the Airbnb we stayed in, and go to Chez Alain Miam Miam at Les Marche des Enfants Rouges for a sandwich. Realize that Paris isn’t perfect, and make your plans in advance to make the most of the time you have. Oh, and maybe don’t fly with XL Airlines, it took them 4 days to locate and deliver Kelly’s luggage.

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