My last two days in France were a bit of a whirlwind to say the least. I found out the night before I left that the train I had booked between Clamecy and Paris had been cancelled because of the strikes, so I had to frantically find another way to get Paris. Thankfully, I was able to find a cheap BlaBlaBus out of Auxerre the following morning, and L graciously drove me bright and early Tuesday morning.
As always, the goodbye was tough and tear-filled, but I know we will see each other very, very soon.
When I finally made it to Paris, I thought all my struggles were behind me, but unfortunately, the strikes struck again. Since the location of my hostel was near the Sacre-Coeur, there was only one metro line I could use to transfer there. Of course, I got off the metro in the middle of Paris to find out that the particular line I had to take was closed for the day because of the strikes. Thankfully, I was able to eventually find Wifi to connect to and I bit the bullet and just took an Uber up to my hostel.
Even though I made it to my hostel hours before the technical check-in time, they were able to accomodate me immediately. I got settled in my room and went out in search of lunch. And here, my friends, is where story time begins.
I decided to eat at a random cafe not too far from my hostel. It was pretty empty and quiet, so I sat down and ordered my croque-madame. The waiter who took my order was really kind, friendly, and was making short conversation with me over the course of my meal. He told me he realized I wasn’t French and that I spoke really well, but he couldn’t place my accent, which resulted in me telling him that I was an American visiting for the holidays, etc. I asked for the check and as I was sorting out my money, he started speaking to me quickly and quietly, so of course I couldn’t understand him. After a few seconds of looking at him with utter confusion, I heard the words boire un coup (have a drink) and numèro (number) and very suddenly realized that this man wrote his phone number on the back of my receipt and was asking me to go out for a drink! When I realized what he was saying, I immediately told him I have a boyfriend and thankfully, he backed off immediately, said sorry, and returned to being his very friendly/accommodating self. It was wild.
After that very exciting lunch, I went up the visit the Sacre-Coeur and it was s t u n n i n g. I’ve been to Paris four times now and this was the first time I have gotten to explore the Sacre-Coeur/Montmarte neighborhood and honestly, I think it’s my favorite spot in Paris.
I spent about an hour walking through the church and the crypt. It was stunning. While I was walking through the crypt, I couldn’t stop thinking about the centuries worth of Christians who have walked the same path I was walking. It was a surreal and beautiful moment.
After soaking in the church, I spent about two hours exploring and walking around the Montmarte area. It was really quiet and there weren’t many tourists – I would imagine it was because that metro line was closed – so it was nice to not feel overwhelmed by crowds.
On my way back to the hostel, I stopped by a grocery store to buy food for dinner and breakfast the next day. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and resting before my big travel day the following day.
I awoke around 3:30 in the morning the next day, looked at my phone, and found out my flight had been cancelled and rescheduled from Iceland Air due to bad weather. The only information I had was a text and after a frustrating hour of trying to get in contact with anybody about getting on a different flight (my new flight rerouted through Atlanta and I wouldn’t get back to Chicago until nearly midnight), I made the executive decision to just go to the airport and try and get things straightened out, despite my flight not leaving until 4pm. While in retrospect it was not the wisest decision – I should have just gone back to sleep and dealt with it later – the anxious part of my brain won out.
Sadly, I couldn’t get on any earlier flight, nor anything that was more direct, so I spent eight-ish hours hanging out in CDG before I could finally board my first flight to Atlanta. At the end of the day, it was nice because I was rescheduled on Delta, so I got all the amenities that go along with being on a Delta flight after paying the IcelandAir quality flight. When I finally made it back to Chicago after far too many hours of being awake, we made the discovery that my luggage had been put on the wrong flight to Chicago. Thankfully, I had everything I needed for the next 24 hours in my bookbag, so getting the luggage delivered the next day worked out just fine.
Despite all the curveballs, my time in France was everything that I needed. I came back filled with lots of love and feeling ready to take on they things to come. What more could you ask for?
And that’s a wrap on my France travel blogs! Thanks so much for reading and check back soon for more.
Until next time,