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There was a film literally named Paris, I Love You, so you figure it must be doing something right. To be honest, as great as it is to experience Paris, I was actually kind of nervous to go. I barely speak any French and I'm an awkward American, which seemed like a recipe for disaster in a city with a vibe of effortlessly cool chain-smokers who somehow dine on bread and cheese and never gain weight. Everyone told me how much I would love Paris, and I was just hoping to get by without being yelled at by a disgruntled bus driver.
I get it now. The city is absolutely magical. You totally understand why people like Hemingway loved it so much. It's one of the biggest cities in the world, yet remains so calm at the same time. It was a relief not to be around a bunch of neurotic Angelenos. No offense LA, but we are kind of crazy.
I stayed in the historic Latin Quarter, which I later found out is the same part of town Hemingway lived, which made me feel all the more cool as I wrote about my trip. We're both writers right? Yeah, I wish.
My hostel was called the Young and Happy Hostel (I know, cheesy right?) but it would have been better suited as the Old and Bitter Hostel. Seriously, why are all the employees so grumpy? You live in Paris, not Guantanamo. I felt like I had to apologize for being there.
My first stop was a local cafe down the road. Now, for someone who is a Lucille Ball fan I never thought I'd actually live out an I Love Lucy episode. Thankfully not the one where she goes to jail in Paris, but the one where she tries to order food at a cafe yet has no idea what she's ordering and tries to overcompensate. I'm not one to make a snap judgment of all Paris waiters based on one place, but I somehow wandered into the cafe with the service industry equivalent of a root canal. Luckily, a Parisian lady with a kind heart helped me order and even gave me lots of great advice for getting around the city.
Next up, it was time to check out the Eiffel Tower. As great as the Eiffel Tower is to see up close, it's a puzzle trying to figure out how to get yourself in a shot with the full tower in the background when you're that close. Tourist problems.
The Eiffel Tower was incredible, though in all seriousness you do notice the increased security in the area now due to terrorism threats, and for someone who is nervous around guns, it's quite intimidating. At the end of the day though, they are there for our protection, which I am grateful for.
The next morning I ate my first Parisian croissant, and I was slightly disappointed when I didn't morph into Brigitte Bardot. It wasn't life changing, but it was inexpensive. I moved on to the Louvre Museum where thanks to the magic of cinema, the theme from The Da Vinci Code was stuck in my head for the majority of the visit. It was when I went to see the Mona Lisa though that I realized I forgot my glasses. Since you have to see the painting from behind a bar at a distance, it made my semi-tragedy of forgetting my glasses while at one of the most famous museums in the world all the more pathetic. You can bet I've never squinted harder in my life.
The Louvre is absolutely gorgeous. The museum itself is a work of art. In addition to the Mona Lisa, I saw the Venus de Milo. For me, it was important to get photos of the major artworks, but I saw tourists taking photos of practically every single painting and sculpture. It's art. You are actually there. Take it in for crying out loud.
My last full day in Paris I had the opportunity to see the Notre Dame. And no, it is not pronounced the same way we pronounce the university here, nor is there a hunchback lingering in the bell tower. It is, however, an incredibly beautiful, historic church. You can even venture to the top of Notre Dame and check out the view of the city. I didn't even care that my legs turned into jelly after walking up all those stairs; The view is totally worth it. Plus you even get to go inside the bell tower. Again, no Quasimodo.
Finishing out my time in Paris included seeing the nighttime light show back at the Eiffel Tower. As cool as the Eiffel is during the day, it is a must to see it lit up at night. They don't call it the City of Lights for nothing. Just be mindful of the rats when sitting on a bench in a park. Seriously.
Last but not least on my 30 Flirty and Traveling blog series, my time with family in The Netherlands!
Jill Zwarensteyn is a television producer, writer, and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, TruTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com