Paris – It’s a Oui Bit Different

Paris was a wild ride from the moment we stepped foot off of the plane, until the moment we stepped onto our train out of there. It wasn’t part of our original plan and we decided on a whim to go there one night when we were in Athens. We did Greece faster than we thought, and weren’t ready to go to Amsterdam quite yet. We should have known something was going to be up the moment that we couldn’t get our flights to book, but we tried 30 more times and eventually got it.

The flight was a story on its own. Our gate at the airport kept changing to different sides of the airport, and when they finally bussed us out to the plane, the wind was so strong that the plane was rocking from side to side as we were boarding it. The wind didn’t subside and as soon as we took off it was still shaking the plane. The guy beside us did the sign of the cross, and we decided that we were done for.

Luckily, the plane eventually stopped shaking and dropping and 3 hours later we were in Paris. We forgot that we were still in Europe and didn’t need to clear customs, so as soon as our bags popped out, we were good to head to our hostel. As we were waiting for our bags, we kept hearing them announce that there was an abandoned bag and someone needed to come and claim it. These announcements kept going on, and by the time we exited the baggage area, we weren’t allowed to go into one part of the airport. As soon as we went out of the door, we saw a wall of people, and what was most likely the bomb squad heading in. We were a little shook at this point to say the least. After around half an hour, and riding the elevator up and down multiple times, we were finally able to find our way to a cab and were out of there.

I was pretty stoked to be in Paris. I hadn’t realized it was a place that I wanted to visit until we were actually talking about going there. We managed to find a hostel on Hostelworld and booked into an 8 bed girls dormitory. From our past experiences with hostels in Europe, and our previous one in Greece, we decided that it was a safe bet to do an all girls room. We had initially wanted to stay in Paris for 3 nights, but the universe had other plans as the hostel was only available for 2…and what a god send that really was.

We got to BVJ Opera around 9 PM and tried to check in. The guy working the desk seemed to be getting pretty frazzled with our request and told us to sit down so he could write us a receipt. This process started to take an extremely long time, and at the same time, homeboy was getting more worked up and sweaty. At one point even hitting his hands upon the desk. We honestly couldn’t figure out what was wrong with this guy and why he was taking so long to write a receipt, but we soon learned that he was just stupid.

He finally told us that our receipt was done and that he would explain how the rooms worked. It was honestly the most sus thing we have ever experience in a hostel. There was one key for every room, and the key would be in the room if people were in it, but if not, it would be at the front desk. He showed us to our room and as soon as we stepped in we realized something was majorly wrong. Not only were there more than eight beds, there was a gaggle of dudes getting ready to bro down. We had NOT signed up for this, and to top it off, there was no security or storage anywhere. We don’t travel with a lot of expensive things, but there was no way that we were going to be leaving our computers and passports alone in a room full of dudes.

Now, we don’t normally complain about these things, but since we had a confirmed booking in a girls dorm, we decided that it was warranted. We went out and started talking to Mr. Sweaty Receipt and he was having none of us. Not sure if it was because he didn’t understand us, didn’t care, or both. I finally just started asking for a refund and we were trying to find other places to stay. Finally, a manager showed up and told us to wait a few minutes and he sorted things out. They ended up putting us in a private room for the night and said that the next day we would be moved to the room that we booked. Mr. Sweaty Receipt did not look impressed and never hid how much he hated us the whole time. Or that could have honestly just been his persona. It was really hard to tell.

Paris was in the middle of a heat wave, and we quickly learned that they didn’t believe in air con or fans. We had to sleep with all of the windows open and it wasn’t necessarily quiet, but hey, thats why we ALWAYS travel with ear plugs. We also had to be up quite early to make it to our Eiffel Tower tour. It was the only way that we were going to be able to go up it and we realized way to late that in Paris you literally have to book tickets to attractions you want to see months in advance. Which is completely opposite of how we normally like to travel.

We cruised all the way to the tour meeting spot…obviously with a stop for chocolate croissants on the way and headed up to the top. We were some of the first people there, but it was already incredibly busy. There were multiple check points which is completely fair and fencing all over it, which was completely different from what Tessa saw when she was there years ago. Our tour went up to the first floor, and we decided to ditch and keep going to the top to see the views before everyone headed up there. There was a champagne bar at the top which was totally rad…until we saw the price for a tiny flute of champagne. Once we were done, we had to take a taxi all the way back to our hostel to check out of our private room and store our bags until we could move into our new room. The bag storage was pretty sketchy, but we had no other option. It was in a room that wasn’t watched by anyone in the basement, and was unlocked at all times of the day. There was also some construction going on so basically anyone in the hostel could go down into it.

The rest of the day in Paris looked like this: walk a thousand miles, get to the Louvre, get turned away because no tickets. Walk a thousand miles, get to the Catacombs, get turned away because line too long. Walk a thousand miles, stop at a cafe, drink some rosé. Walk a thousand miles, stop at a grocery store, pick up a bottle of rosé. Walk a thousand miles, stop under the Eiffel Tower, have a picnic, die of heatstroke…and on and on and on.

We were honestly never so excited to head back to our hostel and take a cold shower. Only thing was, the shower only had one button and the water was scalding. None the less, it was nice to wash off the grossness of the day. We ended up sharing a room with two teachers and some students. We didn’t realize we booked into a legit youth hostel until that moment. We also couldn’t even be in our hostel room until around 10 or 11 at night since it was so hot, but that fit nicely into our newly acquired late dinner schedule. We went on a mission to find some escargot, and also found a nice cheeseboard as well.

We were the first ones back in our hostel room that night, and we had to keep the door propped open for a while to just get some circulation in the room. Our window was also right by the front entrance, and for some reason people decided to hang around it all night too. Again, thank god for ear plugs!

The next morning, we were chatting with one of the teachers and she told us how the girls that she was taking on this trip were all refugees. She was explaining how they all cried when they saw the Eiffel Tower because they never in a million years thought they would ever get the opportunity. They also cried when they saw a little girl singing on the steps outside of the Louvre because she was able to do that in public. These stories honestly put a lot in perspective for us that day. Sure, we may not have liked Paris, but at least we had the opportunity to visit and live our lives the way that we wanted too.

We ended up booking our train to the Netherlands for 3, so we still had most of the day to wander. We found ourselves in Montmartre with a nice view and even walked around and saw the Moulin Rouge. Which would have been pretty cool to see…until again, we saw the prices. We also had a pretty creepy experience with a guy in a van who slowed all the way down and wouldn’t stop staring at us until we hid, BUT HEY THAT’S SHOWBIZ BABY.

Our last taste of Paris was at the train station. We were there pretty early (we are dumb and thought it was like a plane) so we had time to wander around. There was a Heineken beer cart and they were giving out samples. Obviously, the lushes that we are, got insanely excited and ran over. We were super stoked about it, until we realized that they gave us non alcoholic beer. We slowly backed away, threw out our beers, and prayed that our train wouldn’t be late and we could get the heck outta there!

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