After Iceland, Stephanie and I took the same flight to Paris. We arrived at 6:30 in the morning, and we were both feeling the lack of sleep and the fact that we had walked about 20 miles the day before. So that to say, we were struggling a bit. Both tired, hungry, sore, and in desperate need of coffee. We needed to take care of logistical things first. My train later in the evening was departing directly from the airport, whereas the train she was taking to the city she was placed in was departing from a different station in Paris. So, first, after we obtained our bags, we took mine to luggage storage in the Paris airport then took the RER (a commuter metro) to the city center. From there, we walked her luggage to Gare Montparnasse, the train station she was leaving from, so that she could store her luggage there. All in all, it took about 3 hours and a lot of struggle. We thankfully made it though and made it to a cute little cafe where we had lunch and, of course because it’s a necessity, coffee!
We decided that after our epic journey in Iceland that we’d just relax in Paris. It was Stephanie’s first time in Paris, so we did do some sight seeing, starting first with the Jardin du Luxembourg, or for you non-French speakers, the garden of Luxembourg, my favorite garden in Paris. It’s really beautiful, and it’s a great place to relax.
From there, we stopped by La Sorbonne, Le Panthéon, and, bien sûr, le Notre Dame de Paris. It was so amazing being able to see the Notre Dame a second time. It is just as beautiful as I remember it being. It was also a little warm and sunny the day we were in Paris, which helped our moods and our day of traveling immensely and basked Notre Dame in the most beautiful lighting, displaying her glory.
We also stopped at a couple of bookstores, because I’m Lindsey. That’s what I do when I travel. I go, and I find all of the bookstores. I’m obsessed. Can you tell? The first one we stopped by I actually saw the last time I was in Paris. It’s called the Abbey Bookshop. There are only two in the entire world, one in Paris and one in Toronto. Most of their books are in English, with some in French, and it is the epitome of a European bookshop. All of those pictures you see on the internet and Pinterest where the books are towering and are everywhere, where there’s barely any space to move because there are so many books? Yeah, that’s this place. I absolutely love it there, and I really wanted to share it with Stephanie. They also offer you a free cup of coffee while you browse the books. I ended up buying Le Petit Prince en français bien sûr because, and I have to be honest, I have yet to actually read The Little Prince. I feel like such a fraud. How dare I call myself a francophile if I have yet to read and to own The Little Prince, especially in French? Well, I can tell you that I will for sure be reading it within the next 8 months since I finally acquired it in French.
We also visited Shakespeare and Company, which is another bookstore in Paris that I had not actually heard of until this year, even though I’ve been in Paris multiple times. It mostly just has brand new books, and it is very touristy. So, we only stayed for about five minutes and didn’t buy anything. At that point, we were both getting very fatigued, and I’m pretty sure I sprained a muscle in my left foot because my foot felt like I had daggers going into it at that point. It was awful.
We grabbed some sandwiches for dinner, and actually the hour before I departed, we were rushing around trying to figure out our cell phone situation. So, she and I bought prepaid SIM cards from the French cell phone company Orange. Our data and calls were working just fine, but for some reason, if we turned our data off, our texts wouldn’t work. We were scrambling going from one Orange store to the next trying to figure out what was happening. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any answers and we were running out of time. So, I had to leave Paris without having figured out the problem. So far, my texts are working just fine without my iMessage on with other people’s phones, but for some reason, it won’t work with Stephanie’s number. It’s really bizarre, and I’m probably switching cell phone carriers after my prepaid days are up anyways. So, I’m not even going to worry about it. Just another struggle along the way.
So, I rushed back to the RER so that I could rush back to the airport, pick up my luggage, and make my train. Thankfully, I unintentionally took a direct RER to the airport without realizing it which helped a lot with my time. So, I ended up having about an hour before my train left to relax. At this point, I had only had 5 hours of sleep in two days and was struggling hard core.
Even though I struggled around Paris for about 12 hours, being there made me realize so many things. Firstly, I did not realize to full capacity how much my heart was aching for France. It is so good to be back here at my second home. Secondly, it made me realize that my French is actually not as bad as I had originally thought. Yes, my verbs tenses aren’t always correct, and I struggle with remembering vocabulary from time to time. BUT, French was just coming out of my mouth like it was no big deal when I had to order food and or ask someone a question. I was so impressed with myself and so thankful that I was re-adapting to my second home.
Speaking French and being in France bring me so much joy and comfort in my life. I don’t even feel nervous about being here now that I’m on this side of the pond. When I walk the streets of Laval, I feel at home, like I already know the place, even though this is my first time in Laval. I belong here. This is where my heart is and definitely where I feel God is leading me right now in my life. I definitely miss home and everyone there, but this is where I need to be right now in my life. Right now, and I’m sure this will change, I’m not even afraid that I’ll be away from home for 8 months. I’m all smiles, perfectly content with my life and the people loving me and supporting me throughout all of it. I’m feeling so blessed right now. Merci à tous for your love and support and encouragement. So thankful for this opportunity and the adventures to come! Until next time…
A plus mes amis!