Big cities have a way of charming our souls. We can get lost in those big cities, feeling the weight of the endless possibilities. We may even start to fall in love with those cities, feeling captivated by it’s wonderments.
But sometimes, those big cities can start to feel like black holes of the everyday monotonous routine. We can feel trapped by it, instead of captivated by it. We can start to feel overwhelmed by the familiarity, feeling we need a fresh perspective and a sense of wonderment back in our lives.
Paris leaves much to discover, but after two months of being here, I’ve been needing to gain some new perspective. This past week has been my Toussaint vacation break (France’s version of a Fall break). This much needed break came at about the right time. I’ve been needing some fresh air. Unfortunately, living in Paris has not been an all glorious and romantic time in my life. No, instead, it’s been trying, monotonous, and well, flat out expensive. I had plans to go to Bavaria, Germany, and Austria for my Toussaint break. However, seeming how Paris and my bills back in the States seem to be claiming my whole financial life, I, unfortunately, could not make Germany and Austria happen.
But, don’t believe for a second that I was going to let that ruin my traveling heart and spirit. Instead, my friend Catherine, who was also in a bit of a financial bind, and I decided to take day trips around Paris, places that surprisingly we were able to get to with our Navigo Passes, our monthly Paris transportation passes. With these passes, we have access to all the trains, metros, and buses that run in Île-de-France, the region where Paris lies, something that makes the 75 euros a month passes just that much more worth it.
The three places we visited: Vincennes, Provins, and Auvers-sur-Oise, had their own unique and beautiful personalities, bringing a breath of fresh air and that quiet wonderment that European back alleyways bring us. Feeling myself at the very bottom of the dip of culture shock, I needed that breath of fresh air. I needed to get out the constant go of the city, take a step back, and remember why I’m here in France, at the price of absolutely nothing except my time.