Narrow streets: I didn’t expect the streets to be so tiny! I could literally cross some streets in six steps (I counted). It is not wise to drive in the heart of Paris, and most of the time, you could probably get to your destination faster by walking if you’re already in the area.
Uphill: I had no idea that everywhere would be like climbing a mountain/hiking. The streets are so slanted that it’s a huge workout every day if you’re outside. If you’re not physically fit and able to walk a lot, I would NOT recommend going to Paris. Many places don’t have elevators because the buildings were built hundreds of years ago.
Police presence: I did not expect the police to be holding all these gigantic assault rifles on the streets. They were alert and ready to fire. You wouldn’t want to mess with them!
Chinese: The airport has Chinese signs everywhere. The Chinese tourists must bring in so much money.
Fit people: I did not expect the Frenchmen to be so fit/skinny. I would say the majority (at least 75-80%) has the body type like One Direction when they had first debuted. I think it must be all the walking.
Note: I was only in Paris, so I’m not sure if it’s the same outside of Paris
Not many fast food chains: Apart from several McDonalds and Starbucks, I did not see any of the fast food/American chains that I commonly see in North America. I was surprised since there are quite a lot of fast food chains in Asia. It seems like the French really protected themselves from Americanization.
Things to Note
A lot of security: If you’re planning to go to a tourist attraction, expect to go through heavy security check. You’ll need to remove all your belongings and go through a scanner like at the airport. So, avoid carrying a lot of stuff. If your bag is over a certain size, they might not let you in. They do not allow carry-on either.
Wear comfortable shoes: If you’re a tourist, and you’re outside exploring, expect to walk thousands of steps and hundreds of stairs a day. Even if you are getting driven to your destination, you’ll need to walk a lot when you’re inside.
Museums tend to close on Mondays: We did not know this ahead of time; if you’re planning to get the Paris Pass, make sure to go to all your destinations before Monday or don’t activate it until after Monday.
Note: I would NOT recommend getting the Paris Pass unless you plan to check out more than 5 attractions in a day. It is extremely expensive, and most often than not, you’d probably be exhausted after 2-3 attractions in one day. The pass will activate the moment you enter your first attraction, so if you have a 2-day pass, you’ll need to see as much as you can within the next 48 hours. For more info, check out https://parispass.com/en-us/paris-attractions
Warning: I will go into detail about the attractions we visited and include pictures, but the post is very long since there’s also my own story + experience.
Why Did I Choose Paris?
I had always wanted to go to Europe. Back in 2020, my brother and I were going to take my mom to Italy. However, the trip was cancelled due to covid. So, when one of my family friend asked if I’d like to go to the UK in April 2023, I thought it would be nice.
Jasper, my colleague at the time, is from the UK. I thought it would also be great to see him again since we had gotten so much closer during our time in LA.
So I mentioned it to Jasper, and he suggested that we could also do a Europe trip since he’s already there, and we could travel to multiple countries!
It sounded like a wonderful opportunity as I had always wanted to explore Europe. However, I never had the courage to go alone as I was afraid of pickpocketers, being kidnapped, being scammed, and etc.
Since I was going to the UK with my family friend and my brother’s friends, it wouldn’t make sense for me to ditch them to go on a Europe trip with Jasper, so I told Jasper it would probably have to be another time, and we decided to go sooner (in Dec) instead.
I had asked Jasper if he would like to invite our other colleagues since a few of us had met in LA back in July 2022 and gotten covid. But Jasper said that it was already quite difficult to plan for two, so the more people, the more complicated it would be.
It made sense, and we had gotten so close, so I didn’t mind.
Later on, when Cosy (our colleague + friend) found out that we were going on a Europe trip with just the two of us, she bombarded me with questions.
“What? Just the two of you? Is this a couple trip or something?”
I, of course, denied it. I told her that me and Jasper were just colleagues who had gotten a lot closer since we spent ten days stuck together due to quarantine.
She replied, “Stop lying! Why would you go on a trip with the opposite sex if you do not want to progress things further?”
I told her she could join us if she wanted, and Cosy messaged Jasper to “test” him. Hahahaha.
When Sangria, my previous assistant and friend, found out, she was grumpy!! Sangria and I had also worked together for 3 years or so, and she had always wanted me to end up with Jasper. In fact, she was/is so hardcore that she created a fan name called, “Grasper” (the combination of Grace and Jasper lol).
Sangria had always thought that we would make a good couple for some reason. This was way before me and Jasper had even met. She’d imagine that Jasper was a respectful, calm gentleman with the British accent, while I was the friendly, excited girl who could help him open up.
Anyway, Sangria did not want me to invite other people to our trip. She said, “Grasper only!” LOL she was serious.
Cosy eventually said that she could read the room and was not going to intrude on our trip. (Awww, Cosy, don’t worry! We want to go on a trip with you too!)
At the time, I was a bit conflicted. I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I wanted to move to Asia for health reasons. After all, I’m allergic to all the trees in Canada. Birch, willow, elm, fir, maple, cedar… you name it. And I’m severely allergic to ragweed and pollen in general. Moving closer to the equator and near the ocean would help me immensely, and that was my plan.
That was why I had gone to visit Singapore in Sept. I really want to move to Singapore!!!! (I still do, but it’s a lot harder than it looks, and it doesn’t seem like a realistic option.)
Hence, getting into another relationship was not something that was on my mind. Not to mention, me and Jasper don’t even live in the same country!
But as time went on, people who knew we were going to go on a trip together started to tease me a lot. They really wanted me to view it as a couple’s trip even though we weren’t in a relationship.
One of my male colleagues messaged me and asked what I thought of Jasper. I responded, “Jasper is a very nice guy. We get along very well.”
His response was, “Okayyyyyyyyyyy.” (Clearly unsatisfied)
He then said, “You know, Jasper wouldn’t go on a trip like this with anyone else but you.”
I thought long and hard and figured that Jasper probably does like me to some extent, since we were going on a 2.5 week trip, and that’s a lot of time to spend with someone you didn’t like!
For me, I felt positive emotions towards him, but I wasn’t sure. And it was stressing me out.
I told my colleague that Jasper never said he liked me, and he had never even flirted with me! His responses had always been so professional. We had worked together for three years, and I’d say it was just a work relationship. He was a great listener and helpful, but he had never shared anything personal about himself. However, Jasper was a lot more open with me after we met in LA.
My male colleague said, “Flirting is not his style.”
Meanwhile, one of my close online friend/reader/supporter/ex-colleague, Dimple, was grilling Jasper like crazy and trying to be an investigator. She was super hardcore and even gave him multiple choice questions to respond to. It was hilarious when they told me about it afterwards.
Dimple stated she would be happy with whatever decision I make for myself, but I knew she was also a Grasper.
At this point, I was still unsure. Not only was I older than Jasper, but I also have a lot of health issues due to my autoimmune condition. I didn’t want to drag him down, and neither did I want to be accused of being a cougar.
My real life friends would tease me all the time and ask why I am always talking to younger guys. It just happened that the discord community tends to be younger people. It’s not like I go looking for a bunch of younger men and decide to talk to them because they’re young!
I’d say probably the majority of the people I meet online are younger than me, but we’re generally in our 20s-30s.
Anyhow, I had a lot of doubts, and even on the day of the trip, I wasn’t sure. After all, it wasn’t like Jasper confessed he liked me, so it doesn’t really count until he does, right?
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