Isabelle Leger
Isabelle Leger
Arts & Lifestyle Editor Isabelle Leger is a fourth year journalism and communications student at St. Thomas University.
December 10, 2018

Adieu Paris, adieu

La Petit Marquise is a famous café downtown Paris | Photo by Isabelle Leger

Dear Paris,

March 5th, 2017 Paris

Oh Paris, why must you be so cruel? I’ve been dreaming of visiting you my whole life and the two days I get were a complete shit show. What I pictured as a beautiful weekend that would make me feel like Blair Waldorf, turned into a bad hair day times two, a poorly made croissant, and lacked of the Mona Lisa.Ironic isn’t it?

It all started yesterday - feels like two weeks ago -  when my sister Olivia, best friend Danica and I were late for our train, again. We were rushed through security and given a slap on the wrist for not being punctual. I had a feeling this day wouldn’t be ideal as soon as I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror; my freshly curled hair was already flat, what a sin. After the two-hour train ride, we had finally made it to Paris - and were greeted by the sweet smell of wet dog and cigarettes. The signs all over the city warning of pickpockets and fake taxis did not leave a great first impression.

First stop, hotel. The plan was to drop off our bags and head back into the city for a lovely evening. These plans were delayed when my already-flat hair began to resemble something similar to a mop. Seems we forgot to check the forecast - an umbrella would have been nice! We ran as fast as we could to the hotel. However, even with all of our directionally-challenged brains combined,finding our hotel was more difficult than I predicted. About 40 minutes after we left the station, we finally found a fancy metal door. It was round, metal,and had gold detailing on the sides. There was also a gold plated speaker on the side with a button. We looked at the address about 10 times before fully believing this was our hotel. I pressed the button and the door opened to a beautiful lobby. I felt like a queen.

The city of Paris is filled with expensive stores such as Dior and Chanel | Photo by Isabelle Leger

We thought it was too good to be true until we walked into our room. We had hit the damn jackpot. We walked into a lounge area equipped with swirly glass stairs that led us to the second floor. The bathroom looked straight out of Breakfast at Tiffany’s with black-and-white checkered tile and a big bathtub. Upstairs we found a king size bed on one side and a daybed on the other. The colour scheme was all black and white like every Paris room should be. We spent two hours in our beloved hotel room, since it was the best part of Paris we had seen so far. We decided to freshen up before re-entering ‘couture city’, but soon realized that our curlers and straighteners didn’t work with the outlet sin Paris. What a dreadful mistake.

Second stop, umbrellas and plug converters. Turns out, these items are next to impossible to find because every building is a restaurant. My soaking wet body and starving stomach were testing my patience. We finally located our necessary items after about an hour of walking and settled down to eat the best piece of pizza I’ve ever enjoyed. We gave up on our hair and decided to walk around what we thought was city center, however there were no boutiques in sight. I got a glimpse of hope that I would witness my first Paris boutique when I saw one on the other side of the road. I spotted an adorable pair of leather heels and I was instantly in love. We made our way to the boutique and my hand was inches away from those dreamy heels when a man says, “Excusez moi, nous sommes fermés.” So close yet so far away. After this tragic disappointment, we gave upon the day, went to the nearest shop that sold champagne and bought two bottles. We went back to our room, ran the water and enjoyed a lovely bubblebath with champagne and strawberries.

March 6th, 2017 London

My initial thought going into our second day in Paris was that it would completely redeem our first. We were going to see the Musée du Louvre and theEiffel tower. And, I was also going to spend a large portion of my hard-earned money in the cutest boutique I could find.

We woke up, plugged in all of our hair essentials and waited. We waited and waited and waited, until we realized our curlers couldn’t put up with the difference in voltage. This meant that our frizzy, half-curled hair would be walking the streets of Paris during Paris fashion week. My chances of being scouted were over, but we would nevertheless make the best of this beautiful day.

We stepped out of the hotel, umbrellas in one hand and our suitcases in the other. Our first stop was the Musée du Louvre: I needed to see this Mona Lisa for myself. We made our way to this giant building and stood in a line of five people. We waited 10 minutes before realizing we were in the priority line.Since we were obviously not a priority for this city, we were directed to another line consisting of approximately 2000 people which circled the entire exterior of the building. As we stepped outside it began absolutely chucking it down with rain. The wind took my umbrella and snapped it backward, making getting soaked unavoidable. People around us were having the same issue, causing a cluster f***. The girls and I all looked at each other and began to laugh. We laughed to the point of tears because this was a complete and utter failure and no painting in the world was worth this bullshit. We gave up on this venture faster than you can say Mona freaking Lisa and made our way to the nearest café. We enjoyed crêpes and 10-euros-a-glass champagne, all served by a waiter resembling the man from Ratatouille.

The next lesson we learned about this city is that no one has any sense of urgency. I suppose this is a good thing for most people, but when you’re covered in water and lugging around suitcases, you just want to get the hell to wherever you’re going next. The metro we needed to get on was almost full, but we were not waiting. First Olivia squished her way on,and then I made it and Danica was next. There were two men standing near the entrance who were unable to notice that a girl was clearly trying to fit herself on the train. Danica only got half of herself on the train before the doors closed. All three of us were panicked considering the circumstances.Luckily, another gentleman was strong enough and pulled Danica out of the tight doorway… crisis averted.

The Eiffel Tower, one of the most popular touristic spot in Paris, is a piece of historical architecture in the city | Photo by Isabelle Leger

Trying to pretend one of our own didn’t almost just lose a limb, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. It was such a beautiful sight, so big you could see it from a mile away. I was so busy gazing up at this wonderful piece of historical architecture that I almost didn’t notice security blocking the entrance. Wait,what? The many pictures, movies, and shows with Eiffel Tower scenes did not portray this! What happened to casual picnics on the beautiful patch of green grass just feet away from the tower? What I had pictured as the most romantic place on earth was surrounded by ugly grey fences and security checks. In order to step foot near the tower, entered a glass box where a man in a uniform had to check our bags. Of course, he insisted on opening my case and displaying all of my lingerie pieces to the world. A little lingerie seemed appropriate in my once-upon-a-time dream of Paris, but this wasn’t exactly what I had imagined.We dragged our wet luggage through the patches of grass to get the perfect picture with the tower. Regrettably, I am now writing in a wrinkled journal because of our misjudgment of how muddy the grass was that day. At least the many pages holding my adventures will never lack character.

We made our way to another café to refuel before taking on this city once again. More crêpes and champagne seemed ideal and a cute pug (the café mascot) accompanied us on our quick rest. It was then that something magical happened. There was finally sun… Hallelujah! We finished eating and said farewell to the pug so we could soak up as much sun as possible. It only took a few blocks and one metro ride for the clouds to surface again. It was then that we realized our umbrellas were still back in the café.

Alas, we were wet again, this time strolling through the most expensive shopping area there ever was. Dior, Chanel, you name it, all nestled in a beautiful cobblestone courtyard. Too bad there would be no shopping for us, as turns out Paris is closed on Sundays… even liquor stores.Although my wallet couldn't condone this particular kind of shopping, they could at least let a girl dream.

One thing I found unsettling about this city were the many guards wearing black masks and holding guns bigger than me. I especially did not appreciate getting scolded by one of them for walking on the wrong set of cobblestones. Who knew walking was such a crime? I do realize that this city has been through a lot in the past couple of years - it’s just unfortunate is all.

By two o’clock we were exhausted and ready to go back home, or our temporary one at least. We headed to the big station, ready to relax for the next two hours. Was that too much to ask? A giant cluster of anxious people awaited us at the station. As soon as we saw the confusion in their eyes we knew it was time to worry. Turns out, there was at least a two-hour delay on all trains going back to London. Why did this not surprise me? The only positive outcome of this horrid wait was that we just so happened to be waiting with two designers visiting for Paris fashion week. At least I think they were, I wasn’t paying attention until I heard the words “fashion line”. I may not have seen Gigi or Josephine, but they would do.

So Paris, amongst all of your beauty that shines through the garbage and smelly fumes, you made for one hell of a weekend. Emphasis on the “hell”. I haven’t decided if I’ll ever be visiting you again. So for now, adieu Paris, adieu.

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