Paris: Week One

Posted by Ana Castillo on Sunday, July 6, 2014 Under: France
Bonjour de Paris! 
  It has now been almost one week since my arrival in Paris and I am left with bittersweet emotions. It is not to say I am homesick, I am far from wanting to go back home, in fact I feel like I am home. However, there are just a few things I wish I had better prepared for, but you do learn through experience right? 

1. Exchanging Money: I had absolutely no idea that the retailers that exchange money in the airport keep a commission. This six-percent commission left me 60€ short of what I would originally receive after exchange. I found that exchanging my money here in France would give me the full amount. There is also the possibility of exchanging in Western Union in the U.S without dealing with the commission issue. 

2.Jet Lag: This isn't such a huge problem but I do wish I had adjusted my sleep to this time zone before leaving New York. I was already late once for class this week and being the perfectionist that I am, it still grinds my gears. 

3. Store Hours: This change has been making me feel like I am back in my native country, the Dominican Republic. Stores open at about 9 a.m., go for a lunch break from 12 noon to 3pm and close at about 8 or 9 p.m.(Before the sun sets). The trains stop running a little bit after midnight on weekdays.

4. The Metro: The metro is much better here than in the U.S (In my opinion). The metro pass requires you to have a photo attached to it, otherwise you will be fined(at least thats what we were told). There are numerous stations that have a photo booth in which you pay 5€ for five passport size photos. There are many train lines which truthfully leaves no need for driving. The carts are all connected in an accordion and the doors and windows are very large (very elegant and exceptional). Some trains like the RER B, require you to press the button on the door to open it. The trains are also very clean (No garbage dumps on the tracks). 

5. Prices: No doubt that Paris is extremely expensive- yesterday, I paid 5€ ($6.80) for a baguette. France stopped using Francs in the year 2001 when all European countries but England decided to have the same currency. Despite France and Germany having the strongest currency, France is second to Germany. Germany has high exports which would be much more costly for France to have (Thats just the brief lesson I got). 

6. Food: The food is absolutely amazing, simply because you have the opportunity to actually taste what your eating. Everything is sold in portion sizes in restaurants, so you wouldn't go to a fast food restaurant and get a giant burger (In fact, I've barely seen fast food restaurants). It is very pricey to eat out, so it is best to buy food at the supermarket to make at home and eat out seldom (Sort of like you do at home ;] )

7. Stores: The stores are separated according to what they sell. In other words, there is no target, Walmart, Kmart, Path-mark, etc. There is a store called Monoprix which is somewhat similar and sells hair products, food, house supplies, etc. 

There is much more for me to share but for now I will continue to explore. This is enough to keep your juices running. I have many things planned for this week and cannot wait to share next week =P 

Check you later, enjoy these pictures!  


In : France 

Tags: travel  paris  france 
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