Tackling (Most of) My Paris Bucket List in One Week

Since moving to Paris almost a year ago, I’ve had a bucket list to complete that I’ve slowly been adding to throughout my time here. And last week, I was able to cross off four more things. So, I’m almost done with my list! Just a few more things left.. But for now, I’ll tell you all about the ones I just crossed off.

  First, there’s Giverny. You’ve heard of Monet, right? Those beautiful water lily paintings? Yeah, I went to his house last weekend and it’s just as gorgeous as you’d imagine it to be. Overflowing with thousands of flowers outside the front and the hidden pond off to the side.. It was all so surreal and magnificent. I couldn’t help but just stare and stare and stare. The girls and I decided to go exploring throughout the town after his house too and found ourselves on a little adventure throughout the hills. We climbed a trail that led to the top of a steep hill and at the top you could see the wonders of nature for miles and miles and miles. It was just such a peaceful and relaxing day full of flowers and sun. 

                   

  Next, I climbed to the top of Notre Dame. Kissing a gargoyle up there has been one of the top things on my list all year and I finally did it! Obsessed with gargoyles.. Anyway, the view was glorious and breathtaking but mostly I’m just happy I kissed a real gargoyle. Even looked for Quasimodo but couldn’t find him anywhere. 

     
  Then, I climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Gotta say, this view is my favorite in all of Paris thus far. You could literally see the whole city and it started with the length of the Champs Elysées. Really just a spectacular place to go and get lost in thought within the beauty of this city. 

        
  Finally, I sang karaoke at my pub. Yeah, it might be a weird thing to have on a bucket list but it makes sense to me. The Highlander is the place where I literally spend most of my time in Paris and every Thursday night they have karaoke. Usually, I just laugh when everyone else makes a fool of themselves for everyone else’s pleasure but this time I decided to be the fool. I told Declan, the best bartender in the world, that I was going to do karaoke tonight so that I wouldn’t be able to bail. Once I told him, I was stuck. Later in the night he called me up to sing and even though I pleaded for a good 30 seconds for him to not make me actually do it, he announced to the whole pub that this was something that I had to do and that I needed to knock it off my bucket list. Thanks, Dec. Anyway, I sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” and I even did the Steven Tyler squeal with my voice after every line. It was pretty fun since I committed to it and sang my heart out – none of that shy, quiet I-don’t-really-wanna-do-this kinda stuff – no, I full on went for it. I feel sorry for everyone’s ears but I don’t really care, I had a blast being an idiot. And now it’s been crossed off my list.

So, there you have it. I completed four new items on my Paris Bucket List within a week and I only have about three more things left before I leave in two weeks. Here’s to its completion!

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Pigs and Gypsies

I knew coming over to France that I would get a lot of attention. My blonde hair makes me stick out like a sore thumb in this country. However, I never thought the attention would be this extreme.

I have to say that I’m already incredibly sick of a lot of people in this country. I’ve survived a pickpocketing experience, multiple stare downs and today I survived my first potential mugging. Yeah, that’s right. I said MUGGING.

I’ll start from the beginning. The first week in France, we were in Paris. I loved the city. Marvelous and beautiful. However, I had one little (BIG) incident that I believe has forever scarred me to the core. I was pickpocketed. Here I am minding my own business trying to get to L’Arc de Triomphe and the next thing I know, there’s some little gypsy girl up on me trying to get me to sign a blank sheet of paper. I realized something was up when she wouldn’t get off of me so I decided to check my pocket for my phone. Yeah, stupid me I left my phone in my jean jacket pocket instead of hiding it. Well, as I’m reaching into my pocket to make sure I still have my phone, she’s pulling her hand out of my pocket with my phone! Next thing I knew, she had my phone hidden under her clipboard that she was carrying and don’t ask me how, but somehow I knew where it was and I just snatched it right back out of her hand and turned away to get as far away from her as possible before I beat the living daylights out of her.

There’s my first horrible incident in France.

Then, today I had an incident with a man at the ATM. Stupid me (again), I think that I’m invincible and that nothing bad will happen to me. This entire trip thus far has proven that I’m indeed entirely incorrect in that state of mind. Everything bad that happens to someone over here always happens to me. Anyway, this is the story.

I leave lunch and everybody else to go to the ATM to withdraw some money because I’m getting low. The ATM was only a couple blocks away so I thought I’d be completely fine. I was wrong. As I’m putting in my PIN number, a man comes up behind me and starts to talk to me. He asks says hi and asks me how I’m doing and starts to ramble. I glance quickly at him and then away disgusted, but I probably shouldn’t have looked at him at all. Well, I’m still trying to withdraw money and he keeps talking to me. He starts to now talk in French and ask if I speak French. Again, I don’t answer and I don’t even acknowledge his presence. He still goes on trying to ask me why I’m not answering him and why I won’t say hi and trying to get me to talk to him and I’m assuming trying to distract me. Well by this point my heart is racing as fast as it can and I’m about to have a heart attack. Here I am, a little, blonde American girl trying to withdraw a large amount of money in a foreign country and there’s a huge man hovering over me, obviously trying to get something from me. As soon as the machine spits out my card, I snatch it up and when it gives me my money I grab on and hold for dear life so that this jerk can’t take anything from me. I rip my receipt out of the machine and speed walk away from him around the corner. He was still calling after me by the time I rounded the corner, but I’d gotten away from him and I was safe. Then, I realized my phone wasn’t in my back pocket. Frantically, I searched throughout my purse for it and started to panic. I swore I had (stupidly, again) left my phone in my back pocket and now it wasn’t there. I was sure that jerk had stolen my phone at this point. I started sprinting back to the restaurant, praying to God that I had miraculously left my phone on the table and forgotten to bring it with me. I reach the doors to the restaurant and search the table with my eyes before even getting to it. Yup, there it was. I’d left my phone on the table with all of my friends and everything was okay. I’d survived the potential mugging and he didn’t get away with anything. Having your guard up at all times really does pay off. I’ve learned not to trust anyone except the people you know in this country. By now I’m ALWAYS on alert for the next person who’s on the lookout to take something from me. And this isn’t even the last part of my story.

After a six hour train ride from Cannes back to Lyon, I’m exhausted. We all were. As all four of us eventually separate and go our separate ways to head home, Auburn and I are left alone in the metro station waiting for our bus to take us all the way home. It’s at this point that a huge, drunk man walks into the station and sits down on the bench next to us. As he walks in, he says something to us in French about asking how we’re doing. Of course, we ignore him. Next thing I know, he’s rambling on and on and Auburn and I both think he’s talking on a cell phone. Nope, we were wrong. Five minutes later, I feel something hit me. I look down and see that he had thrown at bottle cap at me and hit me. I look up speechless and in disbelief at Auburn as she screams, “EXCUSE YOU,” and he mumbles something about making us mad. We get up to get away from him and he starts to ramble and get upset about us leaving, which was pretty terrifying in itself. We walk around the corner and get away from him and I can’t help but almost burst into tears.

The way that men treat women over here is ridiculous. I’ve never felt so abused or targeted in my life. It’s honestly disgusting. And that means a lot coming from me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good compliment and love flattery. So, if you have me disgusted and hating every man that I see around me, you know it’s a pretty big deal.

So, there you have it. Three weeks in France and I’ve already been through more than what most people go through in their entire lives. But I can say that I’ve survived all of it and it’s made me more cautious and taught me to never let my guard down. I love this country and I love this experience but the male mentality around here has me on edge.