An account of trip gone horribly wrong in the most romantic city in the world! Our reader, Rekha shares her experience when her trip to Paris turned into an unexpected adventure and at the end of it....she found out that it was possible to survive Paris for 4 days in $100!!!
There is no question of escaping the romance of Paris. Be it the love locks or cruising the seine, every lover on earth longs to lock lips under the Parisian charm.
My tour guide gave a special tip to the pretty women in the group -” Never trust a guy who gets a combination lock”. The logic is , the guy who gets you a combination lock is going to come back, remove the lock and chase another lover. Come on!! Are you saying that a cheap lock is not worth me? Gals make sure you carry your own Padlock!
So, the favorite past time of eligible bachelors in Paris is to date, foreign girls! Who would want to miss the thrill of falling in love in 'Parees'? And every single girl wishes for the same …A lock, a love-lock on the bridge. Apparently, Parisian men hate it!!! They hate it because it is so damn clichéd. Not everyone is lucky with love, so they engrave “I love Pizza” or “I love macarons at Laduree. How sweet is that! But it's a truly mesmerizing experience to breathe the romance in the air.
The Good Parisians….The not-so-good Parisians
No matter how many times travel experts tell people to avoid visiting popular cities like Paris during the high summer travel season, there will still be gazillions of people like me for whom there really isn’t another viable option being a solo female traveler. The moment I landed at Charles De Gaulle airport, I knew what I was in for. Immigration counters were extremely busy and the queue a mile long at least. I had carefully chosen a hotel in the Latin Quarter, across the beautiful Luxembourg garden which was around 40 minutes by train from the airport. Got down at the Luxembourg station and was dragging my luggage, when a swift teenager came to rescue. How nice, and people say Parisians are rude. She was a nice girl, I thanked her and walked towards the exit. I decided to check the map, and instead what I got was a rude shock…she had pick pocketed me!!!!
Stranded in The foreign land
My heart sank. This was my first day in Paris and I had not even come out of the metro station. God, what was I going to do? Stood there for almost half an hour not knowing what to do, whom to call. Being stranded in a foreign country is a scene that I have watched in movies, but I never thought it would happen to me. My throat was dry, and I desperately needed some water. I was not even sure as to how far the hotel was from this place. Checked my bag again, and heaved a sigh of relief to find my passport and phone safe. And yes, I did have a return ticket home. Since I was coming back from the US, there was some left over USD inside the passport. That was my only Pseudo Smart back up plan. Checked my bags again, and found $100 which was tucked away in another corner of the bag that the teenager probably could not take out. But how was I to survive on such meager for four days in the city? My travel app pointed towards the direction of the hotel. I had no option but to drag my luggage through the cobbled streets. The taxi seemed out of reach. The hotel was pre-booked and they had charged my credit card, but what if they asked me to show the card. I was hoping to call up my friends back home and make the online reservation just in case they make the fuss. The guy at the reception smiled “Bonjour”. I explained my situation in one breath, totally exhausted. He had a pile of printouts with check-in details of that day. And confirmed that my room was ready and that credit payment was validated without any issues. Now that was a big relief. I had a roof over my head. No breakfast but free Wifi at least.”Bonjour”.
Back on my Feet and mission to Strive on $100!
Latin Quarter is the ideal location to stay in Paris, particularly if you are on a budget and a solo female traveler. Almost all major attractions except Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe are within 2km radius. I had decided that I was going to breathe and live “Tour by foot” experience. The little app on my phone, “Visit a City” showed that Pantheon, Notre Dame and even Louvre were within 3 km radius. Now that was one hell of a good news.
My first stop was at the Western Union to convert my precious 100 dollars. 85 Euros was all I got. And thus started my mission to count every penny. This part of Paris is the touristy kind with Mc Donald and Starbucks. But I tried this small supermarket where I picked up a bottle of water for 1 Euro. Sandwiches for less than 5 euros. Wine at 12 Euros. I found that French bread was so yummy that I wouldn't miss anything else. With a few more accompaniments I gathered that I should be able to survive for the next couple of days. Now that was not bad at all. My shopping cart was full so was my heart. By the end of it, $100 4 days on Paris looked doable and I felt so gooood!
Tummy was happy and all set to conquer the land of Napoleon. As some genius said “Impossible is nothing”!
About Our Contributor
A solo traveler trying to balance full time work, parenting and writing. Sharing experiences of my journey through 11 countries and counting. They say, Life begins at 30. And in my case it’s not a cliche. I started living my life and being myself in my thirties. The biggest milestone was traveling Solo and I quickly realized that travel is all about breaking out of your comfort zone. Society and Media Collectively, have succeeded at making us scared and have painted the picture of the world out to be this terrifying place of rapists and creeps. Our world is a beautiful place to be explored and i want to debunk the fear especially for those who travel alone because i firmly believe that the fear is “inside us”.
So what do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a free spirit. I want a world where we are surrounded with people who will encourage us to dare and do things above and beyond. Friends who will tell you five reasons why you should do something rather than being in a safe net. A friend who instills in you the courage to stand up, fight your own battles and take charge. I want to be that friend to you!
Twitter : @Rekhaaaa
This was Rekha's Parisian adventure for you! If you have a story to share with us, just mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org Not much of a writer? Don't worry, just give us the highlights and we will create magic out of it!!