To sum it up, Paris was hot, crowded and noisy. It didn’t quite present itself as you know it from romantic movies, where a guy and a girl sit in a little boat, floating down the Seine river, being all lovey-dovey. The French capital is a global city and next to New York and London one of the main metropolises of the Western World. That is how Wikipedia describes it and I agree. The main roads and the extensive metro system are pumping millions of people through the city’s arteries into the twenty different arrondissements. We found ourselves surrounded by people of all different nations, skin colors, professions and stories and that is exactly what is really fascinating and interesting about Paris. You are in the center of all nations, one of a million, yet in this colorful mixture one of a kind. People of different nations merge to an elusive mash, living right next to each other, sharing their history and redefining it.
We are tourists and although Marcus refuses to take a map in his hand to reveal our status we are able to find our way through the city. We watch people posing in front of Sacré-Cœur, while two streets to the left the ghetto is in full spate, we turn in the little side streets and find ourselves in front of beautiful little bars and restaurants, we are lying in the park, listening to the constant city noise. You can actually find what the city guide is promising by avoinding the places it is recommending. If you just explore the city on your own and don’t walk into the tourist traps you can find some of the charm you know from the movies and narratives. You’ll find small oases, old-established bakeries or become witness of stories that only metropolises can tell. Time is passing quickly while we explore the city in huge steps and can’t help but ask ourselves: Oh Paris, what are you doing to us?