France was magnifique.
Aside from the pigeons in Paris (more on that in a moment) – France has swept me off my feet.
And not just because we literally had to put our feet up each night from all the walking we were doing.
Bretagne (or Brittany), Rennes (Bretagne’s capital city), Saint-Malo (a port city in Brittany), and Julien’s family (my new family), Paris – all breathtakingly delightful.
Side note: Nothing like meeting your in-laws for the first time in person, after you’ve married the love of your life … the love of their lives. My heart was skipping beats and papillons were doing backflips in my stomach on that first train ride to Rennes. But the welcome I received was like none other. Warm, loving, inviting, welcoming – it couldn’t have gone better.
I loved every moment.
Being immersed in the language, the culture, the food, the wine, surrounded by the quaint city streets of Rennes and Saint-Malo.
It was like something out of a fairy tale.
In fact, on our walk to the market when we first arrived, I may have burst out into a bit of a Beauty and the Beast rendition: “Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour … There goes the baker with his tray as always …”
The hustle and bustle of the weekend markets, the boulangeries and patisseries (OMG the croissants!), the cobblestoned laneways, and the hidden bars and pubs – I have fallen in love with France.
Paris, however, was – perhaps as predicted – a little, well how shall we say: snobby.
When we first arrived in Paris, J took me to one of the Aussie bars, Café Oz. And well, let’s just say, our encounter with the English bartender was nothing like what you’d experience at a pub in Australia. It made me feel sorry for the Caramello Koala on display – Caramello, they don’t deserve you!
The bartender literally turned away from us when we attempted to strike up a conversation. Without saying a word. He just turned his back on us. I mean, how hard is it to have a 10-second chat with literally your only customers (the place was basically empty when we arrived). Anyway.
But, from my experience (limited, of course), if you know and accept that, you’ll be fine.
Nothing like having your expectations brought down to earth astonishingly quickly.
In Paris, if you expect people to be nice to you just because … well, you’ll soon discover that even the pigeons are snobby in Paris.
I’m being harsh and I was probably just put off by that first impression from Café Oz. For the most part after that – or maybe it was more because I just didn’t care, after that – everyone else was fine. In fact, I didn’t experience anyone else being so overtly rude for the rest of our trip.
So, aside from that one encounter, I loved every bit of Paris.
Or at least the rest of the bits 🙂
The subway (metro), the cobbled streets, the breathtaking architecture, the flowerpots on balconies, how the Eiffel Tower almost follows you around wherever go – it was magic.
“Ooh, there it is!” I kept proclaiming excitedly every time I saw the stunning Eiffel Tower. We even got to see it sparkle at night.
I loved seeing where J lived when he was in Paris and the parts of Paris the tourists don’t typically go to – it was a grand ‘Tour de Paris’.
J has put together a three-day tour of Paris for anyone who is only in the city for, well, three days. It includes all the touristy sights plus the other cool parts of Paris that are a ‘must-see’ but that tourists may not typically hear about. So, he took me on his tour, of course … and it was fantastic!
And, of course, spotting all the parts of Paris I’ve seen on Netflix and at the cinema was so much fun, too.
Despite the snobby pigeons – France, you have my heart.
I can’t wait to go back.