Paris: expectation vs. reality

One word: Aristocats. Yeah, that movie with all the cats in Paris singing and dancing.
This is the moment in which I knew that I wanted to be in Paris. As a seven-year-old
watching a Disney movie, you can expect that my view of this city was skewed. Some of
my expectations and preconceived ideas were confirmed and some denied during my
visit.
This was my first time visiting Paris. I spent six days in Paris with the school, visiting
museums, going to trade shows and trend lectures. I had free time during the evenings
to spend as I pleased, as well as a whole free day on Saturday. I wanted to share the
ins and outs of the city, what lived up to the hype and what fell short. En avant!
Metro
Prior to coming to Paris, my only comparable experience was the New York City
subway system. If you’ve ever used the subway in NYC, you know how confusing it can
be at times. My expectation was that Paris would be the same. I expected it to be just
as grimy, crowded and confusing as it is back in the states. The reality of the metro is
that it is one of the easiest public transport systems I’ve ever taken. At each stop the
signs indicate the next stop the metro is going towards, so you never get turned around!
Also, to my surprise, the metro was pretty clean. All around 10/10 experience.
Shopping
OK, let’s get to the important stuff…the shopping in Paris. Before arrival I thought that
everything was going to be really expensive, even including the thrift stores. This was
proven to be partially true. Paris is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so you can
expect that there were a lot of luxury stores. That being said, there were also a ton of
hidden gems and interesting concept stores.
One of my favorite stores there is called Kilo Shop. Kilo Shop is a thrift store where
everything you buy is based on the weight, hence the name kilo. I scored a real leather
jacket there, which usually run for $200-$300, for $73. Some other honorable mentions
are Mad Vintage, Come On Eileen and & Other Stories. As mentioned before, Paris is a
big city for fashion, so I had to stop in some of the luxury stores. My friends and I went
into the Louis Vuitton flagship, which was huge and such a cool experience. I definitely
recommend stopping into some luxury stores in Paris even if you aren’t planning on
buying anything.
Food
The food in Paris has much more variety than other European cities I’ve been to, which
I wasn’t expecting. My first day my friends and I found a bomb Indian restaurant, which
might I add, had an affordable price tag. That’s one thing about food in Paris: it is
expensive, especially if you’re in a touristy area.

One of the nights I had dinner by the Arc De Triomphe, and the food was very average
and pricey. Pink Mama was the exact opposite of average. The outside of Pink Mama is
covered in pink tiles, and there’s a speakeasy in the basement of the restaurant. The
cuisine has a little bit of everything but is mostly Italian. This place was by far my
favorite and a must-see. Also, one of my favorite places in Paris is Lavomatic. It is a
speakeasy that looks like a laundromat from the outside, but you can climb through the
washing machine to get into the bar. It had such a great vibe, and it wasn’t outrageously
expensive. Last but not least, you have to get a street crepe! You have to buy them
from a street vendor to get the whole Parisian experience. The food definitely met my
expectations.
I’m no Rick Steves, that’s for sure. This was my expectation versus reality of the city of
love. It was an unforgettable first trip to Paris, and I can’t wait to come back to eat, shop
and explore some more! Au revoir!

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