Oh France, oh Paris. Instead of falling in love with what is supposedly the romantic city on Earth, I left exasperated, exhausted, and not to thrilled about our experience there.
I wasn’t at my best physically, since the soreness I first experienced in Wales was sticking around…along with bloating and major water retention. One thing I’ve always hated about traveling internationally is how it messes up with my hormonal/monthly cycle, and these PMS-like symptoms didn’t help me feel eager about wanting to continue our travels to France.
The Eurostar train ride was about three hours, and it was time I used to get some sleep. We reached Gare du Nord, the beginning of our troubles, around noon Paris time.
We spent a while scrambling to find the “left luggage” department so we could drop off two of our larger suitcases so we wouldn’t have to lug them around for three days. Then we stood in front of the Metro ticket station, clueless as to what was the best deal. We ended up getting a little book of tickets (more like stubs…) and caught a train heading to Bréguet Sabin, where our Airbnb was located.
We waited at the station, minding our own business, but then I remembered something about pickpockets being notorious in Paris. I reminded my sister quietly so as not to bring attention to ourselves.
When the train came, I was hesitant to get on because it seemed like a lot of people were getting inside…and there were a group of guys standing near the door who were eyeing us and not going out of their way to make room. One of them offered to help my sister up and I was like “Oh no…“.
After that, my sister said she felt someone tug at her bag strap but it was a woman sitting behind her. We later found out the woman tugged on my sister’s bag in order to prevent them from pickpocketing her. Then my Dad who was trying to sit down lost his balance because some of the guys were getting to close to him. He ended up falling on another guy and saying, “Sorry mate…”. It’s something we laugh at now, but the entire time I was thinking why on Earth did we get on this train??
One of the guys that originally surrounded my Dad before the fall “helped” him up and tapped on a hand rail on the side, suggesting that my Dad hold onto it…most likely so they could reach into his pockets. My Dad didn’t oblige, and so we were able to thwart our first pickpocket encounter.
My sister was somewhat shaken up by the experience, but she was thankful for that woman’s help. She ended up calling her out French angel who we couldn’t even say “merci” to because we were at a loss for words, haha!
We got off at our stop in one piece after that shocking experience. Our Airbnb was a ten minute walk away, and walking along those Parisian streets to get there was far from romantic.
The roads were dusty, every other person had a cloud of cigarette smoke around them, and I got the vibe from my surroundings that you either fit in here or you didn’t, and if you didn’t you were ignored. Yeah, I get it that tourists can be annoying but I knew from then on that Paris was not going to be a welcoming city.
Our flat was six floors up, and I definitely underestimated the ascent even though our host warned us via message. Climbing up after a long morning of travel and with luggage was a challenge to say the least. We were sweating bullets by the time we reached the top.
We were semi-joking about wanting to stay in the flat for the remainder of the trip, but we were able to take some time to calm down and cool off to decide to walk to lunch. I heard about a cute vegan burger place in a SAFE neighborhood, and we used the opportunity to see what Paris was like on foot.
For lunch, we made it to Hank Burger, an all-vegan burger place that was built within what seemed to be an old loft.
We ordered downstairs and then climbed up to the top floor where wooden booths were covered in soft blankets and pillows. The chairs and other furniture were tiny though!
Our burgers came with special sauces depending on what type of burger we got. The tray papers were adorable too.
The burgers were enough to make us feel more calm and comfortable with our surroundings. After lunch, we had enough fuel to walk back towards the flat, but not without stopping by Bastille which was nearby.
We also stopped by flower garden, but the heat was getting to us so we slowly made our way back eventually. I also still felt incredibly sore and bloated so going back and resting up sounded perfect.
We stopped at a local grocery store on the way home so we could pick up some snackables to have for “dinner”. The remainder of the evening was spent on the couch relaxing while French dubs of American tv shows played in the background.
I got one appreciated the extra rest that evening because the next day was just as eventful…