Changing My Mind About Paris

Cafe in Paris
Enjoying a sunny day in Paris.

Sometimes first impressions can be wrong. When I landed in Paris this morning, I was still nursing a grudge from the last time I was here. When I got robbed, was followed by drunks and had an overall bad experience.

But that was then; this is now.

Today, as I’ve been walking, eating out, shopping and exploring, I’ve been watching…watching the Parisians who have reputations larger than life.

They’ve been called rude and aloof. But that wasn’t my experience at all today. As I fumbled to explain myself in French, each person I met — from the waiters to the service people at the stores — switched to English to help me.

Granted, it wasn’t the flawless English you so often hear in Scandinavia, but we communicated. I was helped with kindness.

Several times, we needed directions. My friend asked people at outdoor tables, people on the street, even a waiter carrying in dishes. Each one stopped, and pointed us in the right direction. One woman even came over to us on the street as soon as we opened our map.

Good people can be found everywhere. And in Paris, I’ve seen firsthand that my first impression was not the correct one.  Sometimes places, like people,  deserve second chances.

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Janna Graber

Senior editor Janna Graber has been covering travel for more than a decade. She has traveled to 38 countries -- and counting.
Janna Graber
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