I studied French and Spanish at University, which meant I had the chance to live abroad in third year. I lived in a small city in the south of France for around 6 months. Now, my tales of ‘adventure’ there are for another time, but when I came home after my time out there, I swore that if I ever had to live in France again, Paris would be the only place I would go.
When I went to Paris for the first time, around 8 years ago, I fell in love immediately. And then in September last year I was offered the chance to move out there for work. I would be lying if I said I jumped at the opportunity. I would be more or less committing to a career in retail, something I always promised myself I would not get into, and I knew how homesick I would get. I ended up saying yes only because I was scared of the reactions from my bosses at work if I said no. Not the best of reasons you may say but hey ho.
I moved out there in the middle of October, and work pretty much took over as soon as I was there (working 70 hours+ a week like a trooper), so it was a good month before I was able to go and experience the city. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I fully experienced what is was like to live in Paris. I was living in hotels the entire time I was there, and I didn’t really make any friends (honestly, I only made one friend, and I worked with her). It was a lonely time, but somehow, being in Paris, meant that I wasn’t at all as homesick as I thought I would be. Dare I say it, I actually enjoyed being there and secretly loved the fact I could say “I live in Paris”.
When living there, I experienced and discovered many different things to when I’ve been there for long weekends:
1. The Parisians aren’t as rude as everyone makes out
Yes, you’re bound to come across a stereo typically arrogant French person every now and again but, as a whole, I found the Parisians to be really friendly people. A lot friendlier than the people in our capital anyway.
2. Carrying cases through the Metro will be the hardest thing you ever do in your life
This was genuinely the only thing I DEPISED about living in Paris and living in hotels. I would purposely travel out my way so that I would change lines at stations that I knew had escalators.
3. Paris at Christmas is even more perfect
Paris is an Instragrammers dream, and over Christmas it becomes even more perfect. Everyone should go experience the Christmas Market on the Champs Elysee, and see just how beautiful the decorations and lights are.
4. Shakespeare and Company, Rue de la Boucherie
This is a bookstore that can be found on Rue de la Boucherie, near Notre Dame Cathedral. This was the first of my new new favourite places that I discovered in Paris this time round. It not only functions as a bookstore but it is also a reading library. Its a place you could go and spend hours looking at the books they have to offer, or sitting upstairs listening to music, playing chess, or reading a book you have chosen. There’s an unending offering of books to choose from: old, new, fact, fiction. You name it, they’ll have it. Please, if you go to Paris, do yourselves a favour and go visit this gorgeous store, even if it is just to have a quick look around. My favourite part was the ladders they have to get to the top shelves, like the ladders in Beauty and the Beast.
5. Pere-Lachaise Cemetary, Boulevard de la Ménilmontant
This may seem like a morbid, depressing place to suggest people visit, but I loved this place. You can spend hours and hours here, strolling around and visiting the graves of people who have been considered to have enhanced French life over the last 200 years, including Molière, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Oscar Wilde and even Jim Morrison. I also loved seeing the tombs and gravestones of people who lived during the French Revolution. I do love a bit of history. There’s also a gorgeous section that is full of memorials to soldiers that have fought for the allies during the World Wars,and also for the victims of the Holocaust. I really think everyone should visit this place when in Paris, you would not be disappointed.
Unfortunately, I came home after three months because of a few different reasons. But not a day goes by that I don’t think that that decision will be the biggest mistake of my life.