If you had a look at the ‘About me’ page of this blog, otherwise known as “Who the fuck is Alice,” you’d know that I like to go places as much as possible. Like every other normal person on the planet, I wanted to see Paris for years, you know, just to see what the fuss was all about.
A couple of weeks after my 30th birthday the chance to go to Paris suddenly appeared and who was I to say no. So I jumped frantically to the EasyJet website and decided hell yeah, Paris in January sounds great. Cheap flights, not so cheap hotel, let’s go see those French beauties, baby. As it happens, this was not going to be my first encounter with said French beauties. I had been to France before, in a place that was not Paris, but the small quaint town of La Rochelle, where you could see people looking like D’Artagnan buying baguettes at the local boulangerie. At any rate, I got all excited at the perspective of seeing the heirs of the musketeers strolling on the streets of the capital and I was emotionally prepared for another round of sighs. Except Paris ain’t La Rochelle and January ain’t August.
Alice Gets to Paris
So I booked the low cost tickets, found a nice cosy three-star hotel with an impossible name (Best Western Europe whatever) and we were ready to go. We as in my husband and I. The day came and just like I do every time I fly, I got on the plane in Edinburgh and woke up straight in Paris. What I like to do is sleep during the flight with the headphones on, Bob Dylan or something of the sort shouting in my ears. Sometimes I even drool, but that’s not the point.
Got to the hotel nice and easy, albeit expensive; who thought that it costs 9 euro per person to get on a train from Charles de Gaulle to Gare du Nord. Not a good start for the budget. Anyway, after an encounter with a group of jolly Englishmen who were so drunk they couldn’t manage to check in for a weekend of hitting the Paris pubs, we got our petite room with views to a couple of old whores (no, literally, they were fishing for clients right outside the hotel and asked me whether I was cold. They asked in French, I smiled in English, cause that’s how you roll in Paris).
Alice Gets Very Hungry in Paris
By the time we stopped debating the size of the room that was practically the equivalent of a month’s rent back home, it was about 10 p.m. We went out in search of a supermarket, found one with rocket-sky prices, had a mini stroke, bought some food, and got back to the room. All you need to know about French supermarkets is that they have two price levels: high and higher. We found it absolutely impossible to eat something decent or not at a decent price. To give you an idea, a tiny casserole of carrot salad is 2 euros. And when I say tiny, think very tiny. Something a rabbit would eat and ask for more. And in French carrot salad means grated carrots with a touch of vinegar. Keeping it simple, you know.
When I think about it, that is why the French are so slim. It’s not because of their genes, it’s because the food is so bloody expensive. I’m not one who skimps on food, but in the six days I was in Paris, I was hungry all the time. Our rule when travelling is to eat from supermarkets, street food, and the occasional budget restaurant. This worked well in most countries, but Paris defeated us. (to be continued)