My summer in Paris is quickly coming to an end and I thought it was time to reflect on the experience. Here are my thoughts:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but for those who don’t know, I chose to live with a family for my two months in Paris. In fact, I chose to live with a French friend I met on a school exchange years ago. We’ve kept in contact ever since and still see each other every other year. I know the family well and they were extremely happy to let me stay. After a nine-month holiday in Spain, I knew this experience was going to be very different. I only knew a few people in the city and I was also going to be living on the outskirts, which didn’t help. I went in with the knowledge it wasn’t going to be the most sociable of summers, with the aim of improving my French in a short but intense time. Luckily this didn’t turn out to be completely true, but I’ll get to that later.
Although I had Mélissa to hang out with, she didn’t necessarily want to do all the touristy things I had in mind. That’s not her fault, she’s already seen and done a lot of the things I wanted to do and it’s never the same when it comes to sightseeing where you live. It makes sense, I mean the idea of exploring my village really doesn’t interest me at all. She did offer to come with me, but forcing someone who wasn’t as excited as I was to explore the city just didn’t feel as fun.
I quickly realised that if I wanted to go out and explore, that’s exactly what I should do. No faffing about. Because if not, I was going to miss out on opportunities just because I was waiting around for someone to go with. So, when the weekends came around I would get up early and head into the city and spend the day sightseeing alone. Sometimes I went after work, sometimes I would go before. I even went to a festival alone. That was an interesting experience, but it’s a story for another time. But yeah, basically I was super independent and went out and did stuff on my own, and I even managed to entertain myself.
One thing I did realise exploring the city alone was that I was able to see more sights in a very short amount of time. If travelling by yourself is one thing, it’s efficient. However, it is more than one thing, and I will admit that I found it a little bit lonely. I am somebody who thrives on the company of other people, so it was a very eye-opening experience for me. It wasn’t necessarily a bad experience, just a different one.
I know I’ve been talking about travelling alone a lot, but it wasn’t like that the entire summer. I’ve been out with friends from university who also live in Paris, had one of my best friends visit me and have even had the chance to meet up with new friends who I met in Spain earlier this year. Oh, and I can’t forget the family. My kind French family. I’ve spent many evenings hanging out with Melissa and her boyfriend, been out running with Benoit and had many laughs with their parents, Francoise and Domi. All the above have been the moments that have really made my summer. Looking back, I should have named this blog post ‘Paris all by my Selfie some of the time’, but let’s be real, that just doesn’t sound as good. Photos below:
On reflection, this has been an important summer for me, because it taught me how to be independent in a way that I have never been before (and I like to think I am already a very independent person!). Seriously, it can’t just be me who finds the idea of travelling and sightseeing alone scary?! But I did it and I’m so glad I did, because it’s these life experiences that help you grow as a person and become more confident in yourself. I now know, for example, that it’s totally okay to go for lunch in a restaurant by myself. I mean, I get to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations and what’s more entertaining than that? On a serious note, I’ve loved getting to know this charming city, both alone and with people, and it’s only left me wanting more. Paris, I’m not done with you.
À la prochaine fois! X