Paris Archives - Ryan Lum
I love traveling because it opens your mind to new ideas, cultures and traditions. Whenever anyone asks me why I love travel, it’s really a simple answer. I enjoy it.
When I studied abroad in Paris, France about a year ago, it opened my mind to a new culture. I studied French language and culture back in school, but it’s totally a different ball game when you are actually immersed in the culture. Waking up in the morning and going to a local market for fresh produce. Struggling to make conversation and get help if you get lost or you’re confused. Taking life slow and enjoy the pleasures of laying on the lawn beside the Eiffel Tower. There is nothing more rewarding than going out and having experiences.
Travel also gets you to actually go out and see new things. It seems when we live in one place for awhile, we still never go out and do everything. Whenever you are out traveling, there is always a list of things you want to see while you are there. Ultimately, I want to go out and experience life and culture so that when I have children, I can raise them with a more open-minded and worldly perspective.
I plan on taking a trip to Spain, Germany and Amsterdam in a couple months. Here are some of the things I plan on doing while I’m there (on-going list that I will continuously add on to):
1 ) Bring shirts without skulls on them. Skulls are seen as the sign of satan and not a lot of parisians have shirts (or at least I didn’t see many) with skulls on them.
2 ) Only really need 1 pair sandals, 1 pair casual shoes, 1 pair nice shoes
3 ) Parisians dress more “metro”. More polos, more button-up shirts.
4 ) If you don’t use travel books often (or when you’ve traveled elsewhere), don’t bother bringing them. I found I googled most of the time or just walked around and stumbled on restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.
5 ) Cheap wine is your best friend. If you plan going out, it’s much better to buy wine to drink before as drinks in a club/bar are usually 7 euro+ for a bottle of beer whereas a bottle of wine will be 1.50+ euro.
6 ) Metro face. I know we like to smile, but especially for girls, if you smile, that means you are interested and then guys will stare at you non-stop…like creepy staring. They won’t look away. I don’t think it’s as big of a deal for guys.
7 ) Americans talk loud and take up the whole walkway and walk slow. Don’t shout. Notice the level that others talk in, try to be polite and stay around the same volume. If you are traveling in groups, try to stick to one side. Don’t take up the whole sidewalk.
8 ) If you usually drink a lot of water, bring some with you. Restaurants aren’t always so generous on water as they are in the United States. They usually expect you to drink wine or something.
9 ) Be patient. I went to a “fast food chain” called Quick (french mcdonalds). It is NOT quick. Markets are NOT quick. The pace of life is much slower, so be prepared.
10 ) A lot of people smoke cigarettes, so be prepared.
11 ) French people dance farther apart from one another. Also they listen to mostly electro music. Good thing, they listen to a lot of American music.
There is this one french bridge by the pont neuf that is kind of the local student spot/late night hangout where younger people go and drink wine and have a picnic. The bridge is called “LE PONT DES ARTS”. Tuesday night a couple of us went to this bridge to drink some wine, eat some food, and I brought my guitar. Let me just tell you that everyone brings a guitar..usually.. but this night I was one of only a few. It was funny that weird random strangers would walk up and listen, some asked if they could play, and some sang along. The night ended with a french rap duel. There were 2 pairs of french people that just went at it. It was awesome! French rap sounds really cool.
Also on a side note. The fast food hamburger resturant in paris called “QUICK” (the french version of mcdonalds) is not quick at all. It was very deceptive. I would name it l’escargot.
These are my last few hours in Paris and France for that matter. Thank you to all my new friends for all the great memories. I look forward to hanging out with you all in the states!
bon voyage mes amis
EDIT: Here is a video of the french rap session!
Tonight I tried to plan a picnic and guess what… it RAINED! And there was thunder and lightning. Tonight we went to the Eiffel Tower and tried to have a picnic, but it rained us out. We ended up standing under the Eiffel Tower and I brought my guitar so we sang and played. Afterwords we went into the metro and I played some more there. I left my case out (THANKS GUYS FOR PUTTING EURO IN THERE TO START ME OUT!). I ended up making like 3 euro! yeaaaaa! Its a start atleast :P
Our group when on a daytrip to Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Both were very nice although Vicomte was a lot more… Disney. They had animatronics and it was more fabricated.
Taken from Wikipedia:
Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sous-préfecture of the Seine-et-Marne département, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.
Fontainebleau, together with the neighbouring commune of Avon and three other smaller communes, form an urban area of 36,713 inhabitants (according to the 1999 census). This urban area is a satellite of Paris.
Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical château de Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France, It is also the home of INSEAD, one of the world’s most elite business schools; of the École supérieure d’ingénieurs en informatique et génie des télécommunications (ESIGETEL), one of France’s grandes écoles; and of a branch of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, the Paris School of Mines, also one of the elite grandes écoles.
Today I just went to class and hung out with Mia, Eddie, Marissa, Manny, Karen, Gretta, and Jocelyn. We went to this restuarant that is supposed to be one of the best views of paris if not the best.
After we ate, we decided to go visit Jim Morrison’s Grave. I brought my guitar and we played “I will follow you into the dark” on the metro. I think we looked too American and too not poor… so we didn’t get any euro THIS time.
j’etudie français et c’est très amusement. I pense que je veux continuer français.
I wrote a long thing and it didnt save so… summary:
Today went to the Louvre. Yesterday went to a classmates appartment party. Europeans dont party like americans. Europeans party like sitting around on couches listening to mellow music with mood lighting.
Pictures to come!
Paris is very beautiful! Unfortunetly it has been very hot (très chaud). The other day I met a couple of new friends and we went out at night looking for some cheap bars. We found a couple of nice places on la rue de mufftard? Yesterday I woke up and had a wonderful traditional french breakfast of bread and water (ooOOOoo). Yea…
After breakfast I went to my first class. Mon dieu! It’s such a hard class! The teacher only spoke in french, which made it difficult. I thought it was elementary french? After class we had a couple orientations and got more familiar with France. After a couple of us went out and bought a couple bottles of wine (2.45 euro. Some bottles ranged from 1.45-8.00.. but all VERY cheap) and went to the luxenburg garden and talked. After me and two of my new guy friends (Manny and Eddie) went to the bars again. We came across a very friendly local bar called lescale bar (lescale-bar.com). The owner and the bartenders there were very friendly and kind to us. They werent acting like.. oh ze stupid americanss. They tried to help us with our french and and the customers there were more friendly too.
Right now I’m going to breakfast soon and at 9h I will have my french class.