There’s nothing quite like visiting new places with old friends, which made my trip to Paris and Amsterdam in December a true Christmas treat. I don’t know what inspired me to chose either of those cities other than the vague notion of “Christmas markets are cute!” and figured both would be adorably kitted out in holiday cheer. I was correct. This trip was I was accompanied (they are my legal guardians) by two princes that had the misfortune of friending me in university: Claire and Brandon. Lucky for me one is very proficient and the other straight-up FLUENT in French, and that is the ONLY reason I chose to travel with them. Not for their company. At all.
Obviously everyone is horny for Paris. It’s singlehandedly the most romanticized city and with good reason: beautiful architecture, delicious butter-filled food, and a panty-dropper of a language. It’s basically French law to have a boner the second you land in The City of Light.
You know what’s a bit of a boner killer? The comically casual racism that I was gifted with trying to buy a crepe. Being a fine, buxom Filipina woman, I’ve experienced the entire spectrum of racism disguised as “flirting.” It’s happened so much in my life, that it only takes 2 sentences for me to figure out what I’m in for. And it’s not because I’m particularly perceptive, it’s because every single man that’s flirted with me will ask “Where are you from” almost immediately. Literally every. single. stranger. Set the stage: We were out for an evening stroll in the 11th arrondissement where our AirBNB was when we decided getting street crepes was necessary. We stopped at the first creperie we saw, where we saw him: French and somehow worse TJ Miller-looking motherfucker, who will be referred to as Crepe Creep from here on end. We placed our order, some of us in French and me in English because I hadn’t worked up the courage to start talking in my remedial French. Honestly that’s a burn on me because it opened up the opportunity to ask “Where are you from?” and in this case it was fairly innocent. It’s a natural question to ask people who are obviously tourists. Claire and Brandon both ordered in French, but they both said Canada, and then Crepe Creep peeped on me and before I could answer him, he started guessing for me. And though I don’t remember exactly which countries he named because it was months ago, the convo went like this:
CC: Where are you from?
Ann: [Opens her mouth to answer]
CC: China? Korea? Japan? Thailand? Vietnam? India? etc etc etc
He guessed about 5 other countries… EACH BEING MORE WRONG THAN THE LAST AND NONE OF THEM WERE THE PHILIPPINES. It would’ve been offensive if it weren’t so baffling and raised several questions. Has he never seen a person from any of those countries? What does he think a Japanese person looks like? Does he know where any of these countries are? Should I have gotten the cinnamon sugar crepe instead? I know as a tanned Filipino, I’m often racially ambiguous to anyone who doesn’t have a full Pinay fetish, but he was SO WRONG. Also… we live in a globalized world where anyone can look like anything, regardless of what country they live in! I was about to politely (rudely… very very rudely) correct him before he could continue, but then he stepped up his game by putting his index fingers to the outer corner of his eyes and I DON’T NEED TO FINISH THE SENTENCE YOU KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING.
After seeing that, I did what any reasonable person on vacation would do: Laugh so hard because honestly what else can I do? We got our crepes, and went on our merry way because why not? Could I/Should I have given French TJ Miller a talking to? Certainly. Did I think it was worth it? NO, MAN. MY NUTELLA CREPE WOULD’VE GOTTEN COLD AND I WASN’T ABOUT TO RUIN MY SNACK FOR THAT LOSER.
Also a boner killer? Going to Paris in the middle of the Yellow Vest Protests. Thankfully all of the violence happened the week before we got there, but that weekend the entire downtown area (museums, subways, monuments, EVERYTHING) was shut down which meant we couldn’t see a bunch of the things we wanted to see. At one point, we accidentally found ourselves in the middle of a march, first surrounded by chanting (peaceful) Yellow Vests and then double the amount of riot police. Honestly, it was too much police for the type of protesting that was happening. And OF COURSE it’s much better to be safe than sorry, especially because the week before things did get a bit violent, but it felt very extra. I was nervous for maybe 2 seconds before I sensed this wasn’t going to be more than marching down the streets. Also then we immediately did a wine tasting so like, everything’s fucking fine after 3 glasses of wine.
Sites we got to see: Notre Dame (which I’m so grateful to have seen before the fire), Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, Les Invalides.
Sites that the drama-queen police RUINED FOR ME: Just Palais Garnier and Musee d’Orsay… I guess? Man, I left Paris really thinking I missed out on so much… but it turns out it was kinda just those two things.
We did a food tour with literally THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN AND I’LL NEVER BE MORE IN LOVE THAN I WAS FOR THAT 3 HOURS and got to eat all the stuff you’re supposed to eat in Paris: baguettes, croissants, wine, cheese, pate, expensive candies and chocolate. Sometimes I think food tours are overpriced for the food you get, but then I remember you’re also paying someone to show you around a neighbourhood, to give you context on what you’re eating, why it’s significant, and tell you anecdotes you probably wouldn’t have heard if you’d just gone to a boulangerie or patisserie on your own. Also our guide was a beautiful man and I’ll never know a love like his again.
Look, I don’t need to sell anyone on Paris. Everyone goos over Paris and honestly? They’re completely right to. It’s a city full of history, art, food and PEOPLE. WHO. LOVE. DRAMA. And I’m fucking HERE for it.
Best thing I ate: L’as du Fallafel and some sort of potato, cheese, bacon mass at the Christmas market.
Stand out memory: Being man-splained at Napolean’s Tomb by 3 dramatic security guards because we unknowingly tried to go in with a pass that had already expired. Either that or when Claire got into a plastic knife fight with a pigeon who kept trying to eat her crepe.
My recommendations: Crepes at Breizh Cafe (or honestly anywhere), salted butter, pain au chocolat from literally anywhere, just walk around everywhere and anywhere: it’s fucking beautiful.