our experiences in france <> bordeaux and paris france

WHY TRAVEL? WHY DO IT? WHY TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND PUT YOURSELF IN ANOTHER CULTURE VOLUNTARILY? WELL IM ABOUT TO GIVE YOU PLENTY OF REASONS WHY, AND WHY TRAVELING TO FRANCE IS A REALLY GOOD IDEA. 

FRANCE. WELL, DO YOU LIKE BREAD? WINE? CHEESE? AND DUCK? WELL, IF YOU DO THEN THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU. ITS A LIFESTYLE FOR THE FRENCH. A WAY OF LIFE. 

FOOD: OKAY SO IM REALLY NOT KIDDING. BREAD WINE AND CHEESE IS SOMETHING YOU SEE ANYWHERE YOU GO, BUT ITS NOT JUST THAT. FRANCE IS KNOWN FOR FOOD. THE HEART OF CULINARY IS THERE. EVERYONE TAKES SUCH SPECIAL CARE OF FOOD. ITS AN ART TO THEM. SO FOR A FOODIE, THIS PLACE IS HEAVEN. DUCK IS EVERYWHERE, AND WAS PART OF SOME OF MY FAVORITE MEALS. BUT MY FAVORITE MEAL? HAH, WAS THAT OF MY HUSBANDS. THE FIRST DAY WE GOT THERE WE WALKED TWO MILES TO THE SUPERMARCHE. (AFTER NOT SLEEPING FOR ABOUT 30 HOURS) FREEMAN BOUGHT SOME THINGS AND WE UBERED BACK TO THE CHATEAU FOR HIM TO MAKE DINNER. (A PIC WILL BE SHOWN BELOW) AND IT WAS HANDS DOWN THE BEST MEAL. IM NOT SURE IF IT'S BECAUSE THE LOVING HANDS OF MY HUSBAND MADE IT OR IF IT WAS BECAUSE WE HADN'T HAD A MEAL IN 30 HOURS. PROBABLY BOTH REASONS, BUT STILL. :: BREAD. WHEN YOUR WALKING DOWN THE STREETS OF PARIS ALL YOU SEE ARE PEOPLE HOLDING A BAGUETTE IN A SLEEVE ABOUT A FOOT LONG OR LONGER. AND THEY ARE MUNCHING AWAY. ITS A MORNING THING. AN AFTERNOON THING AND A DINNER THING. :: WINE: DUDE. I CANT. ITS PERFECT. SO SUPPOSEDLY THEIR WINE HAS NO NITRATES, WHICH CONTRIBUTES TO HANGOVERS.  SO YEAH, I DRANK A LOT OF WINE. BUT THE FLAVOR? LEFT ME SPEECHLESS. BORDEAUX WINE IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT. IM NORMALLY NOT A WHITE WINE DRINKER, BUT FRANCE HAS CHANGED THAT. SO NOW WHEN IM AT OUR WINE STORE I GO DIRECTLY TO THE BORDEAUX SECTION. I SUGGEST YOU CHECK IT OUT TOO IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY! WHAT I DID FIND DIFFERENTLY THERE WHEN ORDERING WINE IS THE SELECTION. THE SELECTIONS ARE SMALLER THAN HERE, AND YOU CAN ASK FOR A DRY WHITE OR A DRY RED AND FULLY TRUST THEY WILL BRING YOU SOMETHING YOUR PALETTE WANTS. FOR A SMALL PRICE. THE PRICE OF WINE THERE BLEW OUR FREAKING MINDS. A GLASS OF WINE VARIED BETWEEN 2$ TO 6$ AND 6 WAS HIGH! FOR A BOTTLE OF WINE IT WAS FROM LIKE 8$ TO 13$. CRAZY RIGHT? (AND RIGHT NOW DOLLARS AND EUROS ARE A .5 DIFFERENCE SO BASICALLY THE SAME EXACT PRICE. EVEN THE PRICE OF FOOD! CHEAPER. I WOULD ASSUME BECAUSE THEY HAVE A BETTER SUPPLY OF INGREDIENTS, BUT STILL. IT WAS A BLESSING. OVERALL, LIKE I SAID, FOOD IS A LIFESTYLE FOR THEM. YOU SEE THEM SITTING IN THE MORNING AT BISTROS BEFORE WORK HAVING ESPRESSO, COFFEE, BREAD, CREPES AND CROISSANTS. THEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON, YOU SEE THEM THERE ONCE AGAIN SMOKING A CIG AND DRINKING A BEER, ESPRESSO OR WINE. AND AT DINNER YOU SEE THE TINY RESTAURANTS STOCKED WITH PEOPLE. SOLID. SMOKING AND DRINKING. AND WHATS REALLY COOL IS THEY SHUT DOWN RESTAURANTS BETWEEN 2:30 AND 7:00. NO SERVING FOOD. SO DINNER IS EATEN LATER ALWAYS. (WHICH LEFT US FEELING BLAHHHH) - AND ONE OTHER THING I FOUND REALLY COOL. IS WHEN YOUR WALKING DOWN THE STREETS OF MONTMARTRE, YOU'LL SEE RESTAURANT AFTER RESTAURANT BESIDE EACH OTHER AND ITS MAYBE A 10-15 FOOT WIDE PLACE WITH MAYBE 5 TABLES. BUT EACH OF THOSE RESTAURANTS ARE FULL! I JUST FOUND THAT REALLY COOL. IT MAKES YOU REALIZE THEY CARE MUCH MORE ABOUT QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. WHERE AS IF YOUR AT A CHAIN RESTAURANT HERE IN THE STATES YOUR A NUMBER. YOUR CHECK IS BEING SERVED TO YOU THE MINUTE YOU SAY YOU DON'T WANT DESSERT. THERE ITS NOT LIKE THAT. BE PREPARED TO BE SITTING FOR MINIMUM 2 HOURS FOR A DINNER. YOU WILL LITERALLY HAVE TO ASK FOR THE CHECK. IT WAS REALLY NICE TO TAKE OUR TIME WITH DINNERS THERE, BUT MY AMERICAN IMPATIENT SELF STARTED TO GET FRUSTRATED THAT I COULDN'T JUST LEAVE WHEN I WAS DONE EATING. FRANCE REALLY TAUGHT US TO SLOW DOWN WHILE EATING AND TREAT IT LIKE AN EXPERIENCE, NOT A CHORE. 

(p.s. all of their soda is like sipping on a rainbow. no high fructose. no bad yuckies. sugar of course, duh. but ugh the best soda ive ever had) 

TRANSPORTATION: SO WHILE IN BORDEAUX WE HAD THE MOST KILLER DRIVER THAT GOT US FROM THE AIRPORT AND TOOK US BACK. HE WAS SO COOL! BUT APART FROM THAT IT WAS A LOT OF CAR DRIVERS. AND I LOVE THEIR CARS. IVE ALWAYS BEEN OBSESSED WITH EUROPEAN CARS. AND BEING THERE CONFIRMED TO ME WHY. ALL CARS OVER THERE ARE SMALL. AND ARE ACCOMMODATING TO THE PLANET. YOU WONT SEE HUMMERS AND UNNECESSARILY LARGE VEHICLES. LIKE I NEVER SAW EVEN ONE. THEY HAVE THE PLANET FIRST IN MIND. <3 :: SO IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE A CAR A TAXI WAS AN OPTION OR AN UBER. BUT SUPPOSEDLY UBER AND TAXI HAD THIS HUGE WAR A FEW YEARS AGO AND CREATED A HEADACHE FOR UBER. SO TAXIS ARE MORE POPULAR THAN UBER. WHILE IN PARIS: METRO METRO METRO!! IT IS SOOOOO COOL TO HAVE THE OPTION TO TAKE THE METRO TO ANYWHERE IN THE CITY. THEY HAVE CREATED A REALLY EASY PROCESS TO GET TO ANY ATTRACTION AROUND OR IN THE CITY. WE TOOK IT FROM THE AIRPORT AND TO THE AIRPORT. ITS AN AWESOME SYSTEM THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE USE ON THE DAILY. THE LESS PEOPLE WE HAVE DRIVING THE BETTER. :) 

INTERACTIONS: MOST OF OUR INTERACTIONS THERE WERE PLEASANT. WE WERE TREATED REALLY AMAZINGLY. PEOPLE WERE REALLY SWEET. THEY WOULD TRY TO SPEAK ENGLISH AND THEN APOLOGIZE FOR IT, WHICH THEY NEVER NEEDED TO DO. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPEAKING FRENCH, BUT OBVIOUSLY DIDN'T KNOW IT. ONE THING THOUGH, ALWAYS AT LEAST, TRY TO SPEAK IT. YOUR WILLINGNESS TO TRY IS ALL THEY WANT. AND WE COULD NOTICE THAT. 

FASHION: WELL, I TOTALLY DIDN'T DRESS APPROPRIATELY. THE PARISIAN STYLE IS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I SAW IN BORDEAUX. BLACK EVERYTHING. TONS OF SKIRTS AND SHORTS BUT ALWAYS WITH BLACK TIGHTS. A PEA COAT. AND THE COOLEST SNEAKERS OF ALL TIME. I MEAN THE ABSOLUTE COOLEST. I DON'T THINK I SAW ONE PERSON WITH A BAD PAIR OF SHOES. OR DIRTY! IT MAKES ME THINK THEY BUY A NEW PAIR EVERY WEEK OR SOMETHING. HAHA. NOBODY HAD PURPLE HAIR LIKE ME. I DEFF STOOD OUT LIKE A RAINBOW WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH MY PURPLE HAIR AND LIGHT COLORED CLOTHING. AND HOLE FILLED JEANS. :P I DIDN'T SEE AS MUCH MAKEUP AS I HAD THOUGHT. A LOT OF GIRLS DIDN'T EVEN WEAR IT. AND IF THEY DID IT WAS PRETTY SUBTLE! OVERALL THEIR CLOTHING IS VERY SIMPLE AND FINE CUT. IT TOTALLY REMINDED ME OF A LOT OF THINGS I SEE THE K GIRLS WEAR. :P 

CULTURE: GEESH. WELL MAJOR DIFFERENCES COMPARED TO THE STATES. AND ITS SOMEWHAT HEARTBREAKING. I HAD A LOT OF EYE OPENING EXPERIENCES WHILE THERE AND IT REALLY HAD ME COMPARING, NATURALLY, TO US AND OUR CULTURE. WALKING AROUND I TOOK NOTICE TO THE CHILDREN. IT WAS 53 DEGREES. WINDY. CLOUDY. AND THE PARKS ARE FULL OF CHILDREN SKATEBOARDING AND PLAYING. I MEAN FULL!! IT WAS SO GOOD TO SEE THAT MANY KIDS OUTSIDE AT A PARK NOT SITTING IN FRONT OF A TV. IT MADE ME SAD AS I THINK BACK TO THE PARKS HERE IN THE STATES. NOW, NOT SAYING THAT THEY ARE ALL EMPTY BUT ITS RARE TO SEE A PARK FULL OF KIDS RANGING PAST THE AGES OF 18!! IT MADE MY HEART SO FULL. ALSO, SCHOOL. DID YOU KNOW THEIR SCHOOL HOURS ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT OVER THERE? THEY GET A TWO HOUR BREAK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!!! LIKE WHAT?! YEAH. THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH HAPPIER OUR KIDS WOULD BE. AND HOW MUCH MORE THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO FOCUS. OUTSIDE DOES THE HEART SO GOOD. NOW:: THIS NEXT THING..SHOCKED ME. WHEN YOUR OUT TO DINNER OR REALLY ANYWHERE IN PUBLIC YOU BARELY SEE ANY PHONES OUT. AS I WALKED PAST RESTAURANTS OR SAT IN SOME AND PEOPLE WATCHED I WAS IN AWE. ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS GOING ON!! NO PHONES NOT EVEN ON THE TABLE!! AND DO YOU KNOW HOW HAPPY THOSE HUMAN INTERACTIONS LOOKED?! SOOOO HAPPY. I WOULD LITERALLY FEEL LIKE I WAS BEING WATCHED AS I WOULD GET MY PHONE OUT TO TAKE A PIC. HAHA. AND THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE THING I PLEDGED TO TAKE BACK WITH ME FROM FRANCE. WAY LESS PHONES. NO PHONES AT TABLE. INTERACT WITH THE HUMAMS IN FRONT OF YOU. PEOPLE SEEMED SO HAPPY THERE. EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE, I COULD UNDERSTAND THE BODY LANGUAGE. AND IT WAS GOOD. 

 

NOW I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW, I AM NOT BASHING THE COUNTRY I LIVE IN. IM VERY LUCKY TO LIVE IN THE USA. I HAVE JUST WANTED TO SHARE MY OBSERVATIONS WITH YOU. I REALLY DID LEARN A LOT ABOUT OUR CULTURE AND SOCIETY BY WATCHING THEIRS. AND THERE REALLY IS SOME TRULY SAD PARTS OF OUR SOCIETY. I WONT GO INTO DETAIL BUT IT MAKES MY HEART SO SAD FOR OUR KIDS. I SO WISH WE COULD MAKE MAJOR CHANGES TO A LOT OF THINGS  HERE AND LEARN THE EUROPEAN LIFESTYLE AND ADOPT SOME CHARACTERISTICS. BUT I KNOW THAT WONT HAPPEN. I HEAR A LOT OF STINK ABOUT THEM HERE. BUT IF ONLY THOSE PEOPLE WOULD BE ABLE TO ENJOY THE CULTURE THEMSELVES. THEN WOULD THEY BEGIN TO REALIZE? IM NOT SURE. BUT AT LEAST YOU WOULD KNOW. KNOW THAT THERE IS GOOD OVER THERE IN THAT LITTLE COUNTRY CALLED EUROPE. 

 

THANK YOU FOR READING THIS, IF YOU ACTUALLY MADE IT TO THE BOTTOM. I LOVE YOU, ALL OF YOU AND IM SO GLAD YOU TOOK THE TIME. PLEASE ENJOY THE PHOTOS AND THE DESCRIPTIONS. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Benner