The French have been stereotyped as being rude. Almost every time I’ve mentioned Paris to an American, they have replied with “Oh it’s beautiful but the people are rude”. I came prepared for some rudeness, but during my three weeks here, I had not encountered it...until Sunday. One thing I promised myself I wouldn’t do here is complain, so I won’t. I am having an incredible experience that I feel very grateful to have. I believe coming here was the single best decision I have ever made. That being said, here is a non-fiction, short story about my Sunday.
Sunday it was free to go to Musee D’orsay. Perfect! I, and seemingly the rest of Paris thought. It was impossible, 2 hour wait to get in. I quickly moved on. There will be many other times to go and I’ll pay the 11 euros to not have my claustrophobia kick in. I next found myself at Laduree on Rue Bonaparte. I had some champagne and dessert to cheer myself up. I spent the rest of the day marching around, drinking Ghluwein from the Christmas markets and taking pictures.
I decided to have dinner near the Seine before catching the train home. I found an agreeable cafe with a view of the Louvre. Blankets draped over wicker chairs on a nearly empty patio. I went inside to make sure it was ok to seat myself outside. HOW POLITE OF ME. I sat down and got cozy with a book. The waiter wasn’t very welcoming, but I’ve found that to be the norm. My feet were aching, there was hardly anyone sitting outside besides me, I had 4 empty wicker, not crushed velvet, chairs surrounding me, almost encouraging me to employ them. I put my relatively clean suede boot on a chair. The waiter returned, to check on me I assumed. Then, with direct eye contact and a condescending smile, grasped my foot with both his hands and placed it on the floor. I repeat, he physically removed my foot from the chair. At first, I was very confused. Was this some weird french flirting? ( I once had a guy try to touch my foot 5 min into a FIRST date) I quickly realized it wasn’t. My reply, “Merci?” because I don’t know how to say “what the fuck” in French.
On the train home I kept both feet on the floor while some Frenchman smoked cigarettes and drank a 40 of Kronenbourg. He was sprawled across 3 seats, with a no smoking sign behind his head.