Smoking, Staircases, and Sickness: Paris is Not Perfect

Shreeya Raman
June 24, 2014

Having spent about a month in Paris now, I feel like I adapted pretty quickly.  The metro is simple, the food is great, and the city is beautiful.  I never really got homesick; I mean I miss my family and friends, but I don’t feel like I need to go back to be happy.  Maybe this is because I have a great host family or because I have always felt comfortable moving from place to place or because I have not been here for long enough.

Still, no place is perfect and no trip is perfect.  One complaint I knew I was going to have before I even came to Paris is the smoking.  In America, we have our smoking areas where people can stand and smoke without bothering everyone else.  This is completely different here.  There are so many smokers from school-aged kids to old men with pipes.  They smoke everywhere, inside houses, as they’re walking to the grocery store, in the parks.  Everywhere.  Despite the fact that I knew this coming into this trip, it is still difficult to wrap my head around this cultural norm.

Another thing that I’ve noticed about Paris is that there are a million staircases.  Although there are cars in Paris, most people tend to use the metro, which also involves a lot of walking, to and from metro stations and within metro stations when you have to switch lines.  And some of those metro line transfers are ridiculously long, with many staircases.  Not to mention the staircases at tourist-y areas like the Sacré-Coeur and the Catacombs.  I am not complaining; it is definitely a good balance for me, cancelling out the many desserts and pastries that I have eaten.  Still sometimes I think that Paris should not be known for its attractions or its romantic ambiance, but for its stairs.

And finally when going to a developed country like France, you can forget that you can still get sick.  The cold virus may be different than the one in the US or the food may be cooked differently.  In my case, I got a small cold that turned into a cough that turned into me losing my voice for approximately four days.  I still went around Paris, hanging out with friends and such, and everything is fine, but there have been several other people with different illnesses that have had to stay home for several days, missing classes and trips.  There really is not much you can do about getting sick in another country.  Just know it can happen and be prepared.  And, if you do get sick in a country with excellent and practically free healthcare like France, go to the doctor.

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Shreeya Raman

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hey, I&#39;m Shreeya, a sophomore studying Biochemistry and French at Purdue University. In my free time I enjoy playing my violin, cooking, and reading just about everything under the sun. As an avid traveler, I am super excited to spend my summer in Paris and share my experience with everyone.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
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Biological Sciences
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