Stories from Paris: The Other “Tourist”

Here’s story number one from my spring break trip:

It was day two. We had just gotten done with our three hour French language class that morning, so we grabbed some lunch. It was the first time I ordered completely in French! See, I waited to take French, so I’m only in French 2…as a senior. Anyway, we had our lunch then we went to do touristy things. We didn’t really know where we were going until we were standing in front of it. That day it was the one and only Eiffel Tower.

As we were waiting in line to go up, there were about three antiterrorist policemen walking around in blue berets and huge guns pointed to their sides. They were very intimidating.

When we finally got to go up, it was like a lifelong dream come true. The view was breathtaking. You could see the Arc de Triomphe and the mini Statue of Liberty that calls the Seine River its home.

Once we all met at the exit, it started to rain on us, so we ran to a floating cafe. We took cover there and ordered something to drink (chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) for me). After the rain passed, we climbed up to a nice little place with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.

We decided that we wanted to try one of those jumping pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background. We actually got it to work! However, the other group (the Canadians) found trouble when they tried to take theirs. Right as they were taking theirs, a man claiming to be a tourist purposely squeezed through a tiny spot, and one of the girls accidentally knocked his phone out of his hand…The man was very angry. He started yelling at the girl (in French, obviously), but then their teacher started yelling at him. My teacher and our tour guide eventually started yelling at him too. Apparently he blamed the girl for knocking his phone out of his hand and for cracking the screen. He threatened to call the police when we told him we were not going to pay for it. He wanted 200€ for the damage (it was an iPhone 4). He claimed to be a tourist but continued to say that there was a shop just around the corner where we could pay to get it fixed. After about five minutes of arguing, we decided to just walk away. That man was not happy about that. He ran up to my tour guide and started yelling in her face. If she wasn’t going to pay to repair his phone, then he wanted her phone. He continued to tightly grab her wrist and tried to pry her phone out of her hand. Once she got free, she ran to a police van and left the man there. Our group got the heck out of there.

That was an experience for day two of the trip. Paris is a beautiful city, but the people there…not so much.

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