Learnings from a Parisian Classroom or How I Got Me Into Writing

A Paris! The dream destination of every traveler I know, dubbed as the world’s most favorite bucketlist item including mine. The world’s most romantic city. The city of lights.

I counted the months, the weeks, the days until my day of my flight from Singapore’s Changi Airport to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Aeroport. In excitement I watched french films, took beginner courses on French language, practiced its classy accent and read gazillions of travel blogs on guides and tips. I cannot remember how many times I changed my itinerary to fit everything. Hungry in a way I have difficulty describing, I munched, drank, absorbed, read, listened, watched anything and everything French.

The world is my classroom, each day is a new lesson, each person I meet is my teacher - Craig Harper Click To Tweet

When I first stepped on French soil, I looked at it in another light. Since I look forward to the exciting things that awaits me, an epiphany suddenly entered my mind like a giant light bulb. To me this destination will be like a classroom where the experience will make me richer. Where the discoveries and the learnings about what life is like outside my domain is priceless.

paris guide writing

Le Portail du Judgement. #latepost #paris #notredamedeparis #latergram #tbt #amwriting

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So I gorged on Paris, Lille and Strasbourg like Sesame Street’s cookie monster. I idled in the claustrophobic aisles of Shakespeare & Company in the touristy Latin Quarter, stood in awe at the facade of Notre Dame admiring the intricate details on its heavy doors and arch, climbed up 300 steps to the dome of Basilica du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre for 6 Euros, people-watched for God knows how long during the festive Grande Braderie de Lille, enjoyed being a tourist and joined the batorama tour in Strasbourg where I also got a first taste of the iconic tarte flambé, attended mass in the towering gothic Strasbourg Cathedral, got lost somewhere along Rue des Écoles and somehow ended up in front of The Panthéon, hopped from one street art to another in 13th arrondissement, roamed around Louvre tirelessly looking for the location where one of my favorite movie is shot, rummaged thru second-hand book shops along Seine, feasted on jambon et fromage baguette while strolling the expansive garden of Jardin du Luxembourg, fed bread crumbs to ducks in a moss-green pond underneath Tour Eiffel, shopped like a local in FranPrix for a cheap bottle of wine, shyly greeted shop keepers “Bonjour” and made it a point to say “Au revoir et Merci” when I leave, the only French phrases that I’m quite sure they understood from me.

I learned to commute my way around, decoding maps in bus stops and taking the metro like a pro. Sure enough, I got lost a couple of times. But each time is a welcome discovery of a new neighborhood that I have not read about prior to coming here. It was fun asking for directions, ending up with broken French, “ou son ah.. les bus…ah” to an english speaking local.

paris budget travel tip writing

paris budget travel tips writing

It was just days after summer and fall was on its way, making its presence felt. I sat in a pink cafe in Montmartre, observing Parisian women, trying to fathom what is it about them that is distinctly classy, so chic wrapped in their fashionable scarf and walking tall in their fall boots, some with their tiny toy dogs in tow. What is it about French men that they look so gorgeous in every angle? I wonder if they woke up this morning looking like that.

I stayed with an adorable and talented family of musicians somewhere in 19th arrondissement where grapes grow wildly in their front yard and climbed their glass front door metal frame. In the evening we would dine out in their lawn and of course there is entertainment of piano and double bass music. They asked if I want to play too and I had to beg off apologetically explaining that I have zero knowledge in playing any musical instrument and I have my parents to blame for that.

Everyday and everything was more than a perfect setting for my classroom. Each scene, each person I meet teaches me something new, something you don’t learn in a conventional classroom, something you only learn about when you travel.

Travel is the best personality development course there is. Click To Tweet

In the middle of all this, it dawned on me. Rather than whine endlessly and be clouded with fear for what future will be like for someone approaching mid-life and alone, I vowed to travel more. I thirst for more places or in my case classrooms to explore. I entered into a blood compact with old me to break into travel writing and write about each classroom that I travel to. A good start is right here right now in my Parisian classroom.

So here I am.

Please save this pin if this article inspires you to break into travel writing!

paris start writing

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Kim-Ling - 8 months ago Reply

I love your enthusiasm and love for all things French and Paris! I feel the same way about Spain! Really enjoyed seeing your pictures and hearing your day-to-day observations on the living classroom. Living with the musical family would be so cool!

danik - 8 months ago Reply

Great travel inspiring post and how you got to travel more. Writing is a good way to put thoughts down and share with the world and what better place to do it…PARIS!

Cat | For Two, Please - 8 months ago Reply

Great piece and thanks for sharing your experience in Paris! I will be going to Paris for the first time in 2 months so it’s very interesting to read about your first time experience! I’m glad it inspired you to start travel writing!

    Carla Abanes - 8 months ago Reply

    You will love it! Never mind the chaos and it being a cliche. Enjoy and happy travels!

Rhonda Albom - 8 months ago Reply

Sounds like you loved Paris, and really drank in all that it had to offer. Maybe, had I travelled with you I would have seen it differently. (I am the exception to the rule you started with, it’s not my favourite city, nor is it one I hope to return to). But I didn’t absorb the culture they way that you did. Maybe next time.

    Carla Abanes - 8 months ago Reply

    Yes next time. Maybe we can travel together and share our own each insights. Thanks for dropping by!

Gokul Raj - 8 months ago Reply

Loved the architecture of the place, really mind-blowing…not to forget the graffiti work….:)

Mel and Marcus - 8 months ago Reply

We love Paris more than ever now, but oddly the first time we visited we were not that impressed. We ‘ve been many times and we are lucky it’s only 55mins away from our local airport.

Megan Jerrard - 8 months ago Reply

I totally agree with you that travel is the best personality development course there is. And I genuinely believe that exotic cities and new, foreign lands are the best classroom there ever has been – we learn to be independent, to be street smart, to solve problems, and to take care of ourselves. And what it means to live life. You can’t learn any of that in a classroom. Paris is a great destination to use as a learning ground! 😀

Elaine J Masters - 8 months ago Reply

Stay true to this fearless passion and keep going!

Nisha - 8 months ago Reply

Your preparation for Paris got me smiling. I agree that travelling and meeting new people is the best form education. I only wish more and more people travel more.

Sandy N Vyjay - 8 months ago Reply

It is said that beautiful shoes take you to beautiful places and beautiful places bring out the beauty in you! Paris invoked the writer in you just the same way! Traveling indeed is the best teacher for life experiences

Sandy N Vyjay - 8 months ago Reply

It is said that beautiful shoes take you to beautiful places and beautiful places bring out the beauty in you! Paris invoked the writer in you just the same way! Travelling indeed is the best teacher for life experiences

Samantha (Vibrant Yogini) - a few months ago Reply

Thanks for sharing this post. I love your writing style and its lovely to read about Paris because I want to return one day for a visit! 🙂

Garth - a few months ago Reply

Beautifully written post, you certainly experienced Paris !

Siddharth and Shruti - a few months ago Reply

Paris is so beautiful! Such an inspiring story! Love the picture of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris!

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