PARIS: DAY 2
These are called the Wanderlost Journals for a reason.
Despite having a physical map, Gloria and I never failed to get lost. We’d start the day with a list of places we wanted to see. But we wandered around so much and always ended up in some strange new street with people who barely spoke any English. And then we’d spend the next hour studying our physical map, which was already so crinkled and creased from being folded and unfolded hundreds of times, hoping to miraculously find ourselves where we were supposed to be.
On our second day in Paris, we woke up in Cyril’s sunlit apartment and thought about having a nice French breakfast on the streets, but in the end we decided to save our precious Euros and settle for bread and crackers that Gloria had thoughtfully packed for our trip.
Seeing the Eiffel tower in person was pretty amazing. It was such a glorious monument, a skeletal structure of iron lattice that stood triumphantly on Champ de Mars.
We ate our packed tuna sandwiches in a park, enjoying the cool afternoon breeze that whistled through the leaves.
And then we spent the next hour checking out the little food bazaar situated 10 minutes from the tower.
As we were walking to the metro station, I found this lovely pathway framed by tall trees and thought it’d be a cool photo spot. But shortly after I snapped this photo, a group of French teenagers approached me.
“Hi, we’re raising money for mute and deaf children,” one of the girls said in English. She held out the clipboard containing the list of handwritten names and donations. Something seemed fishy. All these names were written in the same handwriting and all these so-called donors had generously donated €10 and more. Someone had even shelled out €50. Really?
I glanced up at the girl, who looked no older than 16. She was now joined with two other girls and a guy. I suddenly realized that this was a scam.
“Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me,”I lied, proceeding to turn away. But they wouldn’t let me leave — not yet.
They threatened to call the police if I didn’t give them any money. This was ridiculous. Shouldn’t I be the one dialing the cops? Anyway, this went on for a few minutes: me denying to give them any money and insisting that I needed to leave, and them being increasingly irritating and aggressive.
That wasn’t the worst part.
Later that day, I got conned by an elderly man selling bottled water at the gates of Tuileries Garden. When I confronted him about it, he picked up his entire bucket of bottled water and ran. Wow. That was totally unnecessary. He could’ve just given me a free bottle of water.
Anyway, scams are fairly common throughout Europe. Paris, as magical as it is, isn’t exempted from such ugliness. Thankfully it has pretty buildings and parks to bolster the crudeness of humanity.
We went to the Louvre, but the line was insanely long so we just sat outside and talked.
In the evening, my search for macarons begun. I’d read so many reviews about Pierre Herme being one of the best macaron places in Paris, so Gloria accompanied me as I went hunting for macaron heaven.
Along the way, we found a cute bookstore.
I have a thing for old bookstores. Maybe it’s the wooden shelves or the endless array of books and their yellowing pages. Maybe it’s the smell of these yellowing books. Maybe it’s all of it.
And we finally found Pierre Herme.
I read that their passionfruit chocolate macaron was irresistible, so I tried that. Unfortunately, it was the wrong choice for me. The combination of sweet and fruity sourness didn’t mix well. I was repelled by it, and so was Gloria.
For dinner, Cyril prepared a French picnic for us. We went to a park near his place, sat on dewy grass and feasted on fresh baguette, cheese, cantaloupe, nectarines and chewy toffee cubes. It was so simple, but it was delightful! I’m such a fan of picnics and parks, and together, they form the best combination.
It beats eating out at a four-star restaurant. No need to call for reservation; you pick whichever grassy knoll you like. No need to dress up for a fancy three-hour meal; you can camp out in your sweatpants and hoodie and eat comfortably. No need to tip the unfriendly waiter; you just thank the hands who’ve prepared the sweet meal. And you get to enjoy each other’s company in the fullness of nature — with the evening wind billowing through the trees and the velvety feel of the grass blades between your fingers. Oh, and while there’s no fancy live jazz band playing as you eat, there’s always Spotify on your phone, or better — a live aerobics class with at least 50 people down the hill. That’s always entertaining enough.
Paris is so romantic. I could just spend all evening in a park, sitting beneath a big shady tree overlooking the lake, cuddled up beside my Prince Charming and just talking about dreams and life and how I’ve been waiting for a moment like this.