PARIS – Day One.

Some may be shocked that border officials let both of us into the country at once, but myself and my long-term lodger Chris headed across the Channel to spend a weekend in Paris.

The first thing that I spotted was the number of Union Jacks that were everywhere. Why on earth would anybody in Paris choose to wear a British flag? The mind boggles.

Spot the problem with the item below.

I saw more Union Jacks in Paris than I ever have in Glasgow… including during an Orange Walk. No joke.

It did warm my heart to see that there were some who remembered the long friendship between the Scots and the French though…

After stumbling dazed and confused through the streets trying to find somewhere that would cater for both of our ridiculous dietary requirements. We ended up settling on pommes frites, which were far more difficult to get a hold of than one may expect.

There’s something altogether amazing and bewildering about arriving in a completely new place and trying to gain your bearings, especially in a place as huge as Paris. I’ve probably been spoiled by going to America the past couple of times I’ve ventured abroad, and fairly rapidly found myself wishing I’d paid more attention in Ms. Bathgate’s French classes in high school… Or that my classmates had stopped setting fire to the bins for long enough for something substantial to sink in.

We ended up looking round the Centre Pompidou – the modern art museum. The benefit to the UK’s membership of the EU became clear once again as I didn’t have to pay a penny to get in, whilst the filthy American (aka Chris) did. Sure, human rights across the continent are important, but so is saving some Scottish guy 13 Euros.

There were some really cool things to be seen…

…but this has to be my favourite…

Hmm.

I’d always heard that Parisians were fashionable and never really paid much attention to it… but boy are they a well put together bunch. Not only do they have superb taste in spectacles, they also aren’t too shabby with their old cake decoration.

As I keep banging on about, the best part of any of these trips is the people who invite you into their lives. France was no exception, and we stayed with this wonderful girl called Ariane.

Here she is holding an artichoke.

Ariane lived in a tiny flat that was a ten minute walk (or twenty minute stumble) from the Eiffel Tower. With literally just enough space for the three of us to squeeze in to sleep, she was incredibly generous. When you get so close to people so quickly in places you visit this way, I can’t imagine ever going on a ‘normal’ holiday ever again. I’ve said it before, but there’s something incredible about finding such warm, lovely people when you’re so far from home.

One of my few aims was to get drunk on red wine in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Mission accomplished.

Who needs to queue for hours to get up the top of the Tower when you can spend the night with people underneath it? I’ll take the latter every time.

We met two German girls who had been Couchsurfing with Ariane the night before. Aged only 18, they were traveling around Europe in a van together, which both fills me with admiration and jealousy.

They’re both mental, but in a good way.

Some group of young French guys overheard me speaking and started shouting ‘American’, and various other things. Outraged both by their inaccuracy and the fact that they were wearing a Union Jack on their shirt, I politely informed them that I was, infact, from Glasgow.

“I’M SCOTTISH YA *&%^&$ PRICK” seemed like an appropriate response at the time.

Drinking in the street feels so weird for someone from Glasgow. I kept instinctively hiding my alcohol whenever the police came past.

I like it.

If London and Paris can deal with people drinking outside, why can’t we in Glasgow? Maybe it’s time we grew up a bit… or maybe we really would just trash our own City. I’m not really convinced though.

This was a good night.

A very good night.

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