first time traveller – reviewing Paris

2019, travel

Hello!

Yes, I promise, after this post I’ll stop with the Paris spam (or at least, maybe stop mentioning it as often!) but I thought I’d do a little review post talking about the city from a travellers perspective, a tourists perspective and the perspective of my first trip abroad as a lead traveller!

Going from just going on a holiday and my only responsibilities being making sure I bring enough pairs of socks, to being the one booking the train tickets, finding a suitable hotel, planning a sort of itinerary is quite a big leap and it’s daunting when someone turns to you in a foreign country!

It was a weirdly adult feeling and on the one hand, it was cool because I proved to myself that I had the freedom to go anywhere but on the other hand ew does that mean I’m an adult?

I’ve picked a few key things that I was nervous about or felt were a barrier whilst I was there and I’ll just have a little natter about each one, if you have any tips or advice for any of these let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Instagram!

t h e   m e t r o

I was worried about transport around the city – I knew there was an underground-like system but having been to New York last year and gone the wrong way on the Subway, I wasn’t too sure how I would handle the metro. But I can’t speak more highly of it – using Google maps, it told me my final destination and what direction to be going in and we didn’t go the wrong way at all!

It’s definitely nicer and easier to understand than the London underground but would probably be much more difficult if I didn’t have Google maps on my phone.

It’s really reasonably priced, surprisingly easy to use (well, if you’re only wanting to buy single tickets and have Google maps!) and the ticket machines have lots of different languages to choose from!

And with that in mind…

t h e   l a n g u a g e

Before going on this trip, I felt confident in my minimal English – if nothing else, I knew how to say “sorry, I only speak a little French, I am English!”. But we got out there and I froze – I suddenly felt like everyone was judging me and I didn’t want to get anything wrong so I didn’t feel confident enough to try.

After the first few interactions, I did get a bit braver but then in the city it only took my vague attempt at a ‘bonjour’ for anyone to start talking to me in English. What it taught me is that I really should have brushed up on some key phrases before I left, but actually – I remember more French than I thought and my biggest barrier was confidence!

The thing that really helped me was that I thought if I was working in London and someone came up to me and tried to speak English as a second language, I’d be pleased that they’d given it a go rather than them making me speak their language! I’m sure most of the people who worked in Paris felt the same, I just needed the confidence to try.

f o o d

Following the language barrier, the next thing I was more worried about after we got there, was ordering food. I’m quite a fussy eater anyway and I get a little bit anxious about the ingredients that might be used that aren’t necessarily listed on a menu or packaging (mayo in sandwiches is my worst enemy!).

On our first day, we got sandwiches from Lidl, the next day we had lunch at McDonalds and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe (where the menu was in English anyway), the next day was a bakery for pastries (we were getting a bit braver), back to McDonalds (because it was easier and we knew we’d like it, we’re both a lil fussy) and another Lidl dinner. It’s something I definitely want to work on for the next time I go to a non-English speaking country because I didn’t feel immersed in the culture and I did feel a little like I was cheating.

But it’s intimidating on so many fronts – the language, worrying about having to eat something I don’t like (or going hungry) and wondering whether the places we were going were commercial enough to have English speaking staff or if it was too rural. Granted, most of this is in my head but it was something that I now know bothers me and I need to be aware of and face if I want to try more authentic food.

So in conclusion – I think in terms of first time lead traveller, I’d probably have been better off picking somewhere that is predominantly English speaking for my first trip, however I feel marginally more prepared to go to other non-English speaking countries, especially as most people we had to interact with in Paris spoke English to a service level.

I’m already looking to book a trip to Amsterdam in July so any recommendations and top tips on learning key phrases in Dutch would be welcome please!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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let me show you: Paris

2019, photography, travel

Hello!

If you haven’t seen all my Instagram posts, blog posts and YouTube videos… I went to Paris last weekend!

It was just magical – it was my boyfriend and I’s first real trip away (after over 3 years together!), it was his first time out of the country, it was my first time really taking the lead on booking a trip – it was hugely monumental for us as a couple and because it’s just such a beautiful city.

I decided when I went to New York last year that I wanted to start a travel series called ‘let me show you’ and when I first started that I intended to travel much more in 2018 – that didn’t happen! But I still want to carry on writing this series so as the title says, let me show you Paris!

Our first view of the Eiffel Tower – just breathtaking

a backlit Eiffel Tower, I have so many photos of the Eiffel Tower

but even the view opposite the Eiffel Tower was beautiful, the Seine is just stunning

see a cute avenue of trees? Clearly need an outfit photo

just LOOK at it!

It’s not often I actually like a photo with me in it, but this one is such a great summary of the trip, I’m so happy Lucas took it!

credit for this one has to go to the boyfriend – he started using my mum’s old Sumsung S7 before we went and the camera worked out really well for him, absolutely stunning picture

I’m still thinking about this nutella crepe, to be honest

This view is from the metro window!! Absolutely magical to speed past the Eiffel Tower and the Seine – not the most amazing photo but such a beautiful memory

Arc de Triumph, immediately viewable from the second you step out of the metro

the architecture in Paris is just second to none – to think about how this was built and how magnificent it all is? Just amazing

Doing a night cruise of the Seine was my sister’s suggestion – I thought it might not be dark enough and then by the time we were on the boat the sky was this beautiful navy colour and just look at the Eiffel Tower all lit up, it was just amazing

this was halfway through the night tour as we were turning round to head back – I love all the colour reflected in the water and actually? The photo from my phone was better than the one on my camera – really experimented with lots of mediums on this trip

The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour and it’s the most magical thing, it’s just stunning

on to Day 2 – next step; the Louvre! Getting a picture without anyone stood in the way was actually a mission

I don’t know what this leaf with plants on is meant to be, but I kind of love it and I took a lot more pictures of it than I really should have

Notre Dam – it was just mind blowing, we sat for a long time just looking at it, I definitely want to go inside and up next time

sneaking up on the Pantheon

I think every building in Paris is just astonishing – again, definitely one to go inside next time, just even from the outside it was just stunning

And the original Statue of Liberty in the Jardin de Luxembourg! (I might have spelt that wrong) The gardens around the statue are actually just so beautiful – we sat there for literal hours, partially because we needed our phones to charge but it gave us this time to be disconnected from technology and really talk to each other and really embrace the moment. I’m definitely making more time to be without technology on any other trips we do in the future

This trip has motivated me more than effort to actually making travelling happen this year – I’m hoping to do an overnight trip to Cambridge this month and I’m looking into going to Amsterdam in July so if anyone has any (kinda budget) recommendations for those places (or anywhere else!) please let me know!

Tell me all about your favourite places to travel in the comments, I want to share the travel love today!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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