Let’s get something straight. Paris is the best city in the world, especially when you consider the fact that whole, steamy baguettes cost 95-euro cents, which is like $1.25 for a lil’ slice of heaven (and if there’s one thing Parisians love more than their protests, it’s their bread).
After spending three months in Paris, with about three more to go—if the visa officers manage to find me, that is— I’ve been absolutely wine-n-dine’d by this city. Even on the days where I’m weeping over whatever first world problem is likely challenging me that day, I inhale a gentle sob and whisper to myself, mantra-like, “I’d rather be sad in Paris.”
Some of the melancholy comes from spending exorbitant amounts of money—sometimes unwittingly, and sometimes forgetting that whatever you’re spending multiplied by 1.3 is how many dollars it equals. Some of the sadness also comes from the inevitable ruin of all your favorite shoes, because cobblestones don’t lie, but that’s for another whiney article.
That being said, I give you my most shameful list to date:
• A book of stamps that ended up being for in-France only. For all the letters I will be writing to my lovers in Provence, I guess.
• To scan something. 10 EUROS to have someone scan twenty pages, with a regular scanning machine, onto a computer. No really, man, let me just go back there and do it myself.
• Countless unnecessary additions to bills in order to reach the minimum card charge. I just want a dime-sized coffee and maybe a croissant, but because this country is sort of late on the plastic revolution, I also need to order a full course meal. There is always a minimum, and in the rare case there isn’t, I’m likely to tongue the bartender and order everyone a round out of sheer joy.
• 17€ for a [mediocre] late night hamburger. Okay, whose idea was this? Seriously? (Trick question: Alcohol’s idea!)
• A pack of cigarettes I lost three minutes later. It was for the best.
• A 45€ pedicure. I expected this to cost about 30E cheaper, but try arguing a discrepancy in France and see how far that gets you. Extra 10E charge for putting nail polish on, of course.
Some of these situations left me with no choice (namely, the scanning and the pedicure). Most are simply quirks of a new city. There are additions to be made to this list in the future, I’m sure. But for the most part, I’ve learned how to prevent squandering the precious monopoly money in my wallet—most notably by departing from a reliance on credit cards, resulting in me carrying more cash, and thus risking a more fatal blow should I ever be pick-pocketed. Thanks, Paris.