Although Osoyoos is a beautiful town that is considered a hidden gem in BC, there is still a big world to explore beyond this little sun-drenched town.
Being someone who is used to friendly faces everywhere and knowing the inner workings of my town, I’m always excited to go and explore the bigger world around me.
This spring I had the opportunity to go and see some of Europe, more specifically, France and Italy. The trip was incredibly memorable and informative, but one thing that stuck out most to me when I reflected on my adventures was the seven hours I spent in Paris.
Although my time in Paris was short, it didn’t stop me from falling in love with the European city. You only need minutes just to see how complex and magnificent Paris is, so the short-lived time was no drawback in my eyes.
Exploring Paris really challenged my perspectives as a ‘small-town girl’, since I went into a whole new country not knowing what to expect.
The first thing I noticed when I hopped out of the plane was the strong smell of cigarettes. Despite only being in the airport, the smell of cigarette smoke seemed to be embedded into the city. No matter where I was, there was always someone smoking within a 100-metre radius.
Luckily though, the smell of cigarettes was also complimented by the aroma of perfumes, with notes of jasmine, patchouli, and vanilla dancing in the air alongside the tobacco.
Once my family and I got our luggage and next flight sorted out, we were off to the city. Driving into the “city of love” felt like stepping into a coming-of-age- film. The day was a little cloudy, people were out and about, and the streets were jam-packed.
Watching our taxi driver zoom in between cars, nearly hitting cyclists and pedestrians, but still getting us to our destination safely was both mesmerizing and also quite terrifying.
There was no lane sense, no turn signals, and no respect for any of the drivers on the road, like some bizarre car ballet. Despite these hazardous conditions, every vehicle on the road remained intact and without any scratches!
Our first stop in Paris was the infamous Eiffel Tower!
Seeing the structure in person was a surreal experience, and getting all the classic tourist pictures ended up being quite the process. There were hundreds of tourists waiting to take photos of the monument and lots of sellers would try and sell mini Eiffel Tower keychains and sculptures to unsuspecting tourists.
The seller’s pitch definitely worked on us, and we happily brought a piece of Paris back home in the form of keychains and statues.
The next stop in Paris was lunch, because what in this world is more charming and divine than French goodies? My family and I ordered three different eclairs, croissants, macarons, and a café Americano coffee.
I did my best to speak French when ordering and somehow, the barista miraculously understood my order, giving me some of the most delicious pastries I have ever tasted.
A fun fact: the café I visited in France is also featured in the French animated show “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir”! I am a big fan of the children’s show, and my inner child was in awe of eating at Marinette’s bakery!
The lunch itself was amazing. The croissant was soft and flaky, the eclairs were creamy and bursting with rich matcha and raspberry flavour, and the coffee was strong and smooth. The best part about the lunch was the cost - all the goodies my family ate came at the sweet price of about €12.50 (about $18 CAD).
Everything looked and tasted beautiful, and not a single treat was regretted - despite how full my stomach was after eating the goods!
Some other things we saw while visiting the Arc de Triomphe, the shopping district, and the beginning of the strike in Paris. Although that may have been off-putting to other visitors to the country, I believe it is important to be able to see a country with its flaws in order to fully understand its culture.
Paris was kind to us, as the people were helpful despite language barriers.
At every monument, there were people willing to help take tourist-esque photos or direct you to where you needed to go.
It was very easy to differentiate between locals and tourists since every Parisian is dressed to the nines! Scarves, patterns, coats, and hats were all on full display in a variety of colours. Each outfit looked straight out of a fashion magazine, and every person walked with silent confidence knowing they looked good.
France is known for being the birthplace of so many iconic designers such as Christian Dior, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and more, so the people dressing in such well-polished attire was not that hard to imagine.
Seeing the city streets resemble a fashion runway was something I will never forget, and forever use as inspiration for how I dress no matter where I am. I’d like to consider myself a fashionista, and would recommend anyone who loves to shop and dress up to go to Paris, as it has a culture of fashion I have yet to see anywhere else in the world.
I had a "sonder" watching people interact with each other from the taxi. All the magic I saw in the city is what Parisians experience every day. That feeling is something I relive every time I remember my time in Paris. It reminds me that every person around me has some form of life that is just like mine, yet they live it in such different ways.
Although my vacation in Paris was very short-lived, I felt like I got a healthy taste of the city, its people, and its atmosphere. Paris is a beautiful city, filled with a million sights to see, things to do, and places to eat.
I hope to be able to return to it someday and maybe stay longer than seven hours, but I will forever be grateful for the time I was able to spend there. I love to travel, and seeing Europe has changed the way I see everything around me because it’s not every day I get to see such different cultures and styles.
You never really realize how much the world has to offer until you go and find out for yourself.
Vriti Bakshi is a work study student from Osoyoos Secondary School.