Oct 28, 2010 by Krysta
Ever since I can remember, I've dreamed of visiting Paris. I could fly to every other city in the world, and spend half of my life hanging out 40,000 feet above the Earth... but in my mind I'd never be a REAL flight attendant until I flew to Paris.
As I packed my suitcase for my trip I made an attempt to pack my most stylish clothing, but I soon remembered that I lack anything of style and settled for warm attire instead. I was off to Paris!!
With the strikes and chaos going on in France I was a bit concerned that I may be destined to spend my layover stuck in my hotel daydreaming about the Eiffel Tower.
Shortly after entering the briefing room I met the lovely Vanja. To date, she is the only crew member I've met who shares my ridiculously extreme levels of excitement when it comes to exploring beautiful new places. I'd previously flown with a friend of hers who had noticed that we were on the trip together and had told her all sorts of nice things about me (aww!). It was the first time in Paris for both of us and we were instantly bonded in our enthusiasm. It's a sad but true fact that a lot of crew have negative views on everything related to the job, so it was refreshing to meet somebody so optimistic and happy in general.
The flight over was a breeze. The passengers were friendly and cheerful despite a nearly 2 hour delay, and the crew was great. We hung out in the back galley getting passengers to join us in singing and dancing and all in all it was one of the best flights that I've had so far on the 380. I realized how terrible I've become at speaking the French language, but attempted anyways.
Vanja was sitting at the door across from me and as we touched down at Charles de Gaulle we looked over at each other with huge grins and tried to contain our happiness... we were in Paris!! Once the last passenger had disembarked we were much more vocal about our excitement, annoying the rest of the crew with giddy chatter about how we'd soon be at the Eiffel Tower.
We arrived at our airport hotel, miles from the city. A group of us agreed to meet 30 minutes later to share a taxi. As the rest headed off to shop and meet up with friends, Vanja and I made our way to the metro station and successfully found our way to the Trocadero station. As we emerged to the street we looked at one another blankly. Umm, where was the Eiffel Tower? We were momentarily lost, but we soon spotted tour buses and knew that we must be close. A few moments later we caught a glimpse of the giant famous tower, standing in all of it's beautiful glory. I don't care what anyone says, I was blown away. Far from overrated. After a few moments of high pitched squealing "OH MY GOD, PARIS!!!", we hugged each other and then proceeded to take many, many photos. The area was crowded with men selling miniature towers and we insisted on having one. We even scored a free keychain out of the deal, for being "sexy"... which Vanja misunderstood as them saying "Merci" and replied "De rien!" (You're welcome!) It had been some time since we'd landed and we were starting to feel a bit peckish. Earlier in the day we'd established that we'd feast on crepes, but we decided it was best to save them for dessert. We wandered away from the tower to find a small pattiserie where Vanja grabbed a sandwich and I, trying to be cultural, had a croissant. Once we were satisfied, we made a beeline for the crepes stand, where we both ordered chocolate and banana crepes. We continued walking closer to the tower as chocolate dripped down our hands.
It was getting dark and with every passing minute the tower looked more spectacular. Every 2 metres we stopped to take more photos. Soon we were standing right in front of the Eiffel Tower, still on a natural high. Suddenly, it because to sparkle! Lights flickered all over the entire tower, and I secretly hoped that nobody around was prone to seizures. Vanja and I stood speechless, just staring in amazement for several minutes. Who ever thought that a pointy metal tower could be so breathtaking? Couples kissed and I longed to be there with my own love, but I knew that I was fortunate to be there with somebody else who was as happy as I was in that very moment. I could feel goosebumps forming and as lame as may sound, a dream of mine came true right then.
We'd come all the way to Paris, and we had every intention of making the most of it. As night fell over the city, we forked over 3.5 Euros to climb to the first viewing level. The rest of the tourists stood in the ridiculous long line for the elevators, so the stairs were empty and we took our time walking up, constantly reminding one another that we were IN the Eiffel Tower... just in case it had slipped our mind. Once we made it to the top we gazed out at the endless lights of the city and the beautiful old buildings that we knew must have historical significance. We spent awhile just trying to soak it all in before walking back down. Some how time and flew by and it was already quite late. Although we were too distracted to realize it, we knew that we were both exhausted, having been up since 3 am. We decided to return to the hotel, but not before we had more crepes. We went to a different stand, in case the employees recognized us and thought that we were gluttonous tourists - which of course, we were, but they didn't need to know that. The men making our crepes were charming French men, telling us how beautiful we were and confessing their love for us. Vanja swooned as I giggled at their silly attempts.
Once we had our second round of crepes in hand, we sat on a bench and stared at the beautiful flickering tower, well aware of how lucky we were to have such an amazing job that rewards us with such amazing experiences.
The fun didn't stop once we caught a taxi. Our driver Mohamed was an Egyptian who had been living in Paris for 27 years and spoke very limited English. I struggled to communicate in French while he attempted to speak English, but we somehow managed to hear his life story and learn that he had only been driving a taxi for 2 months since his former job wasn't doing enough to support his family in tough economic times. He pointed out the Arc de Triomphe and Champs d'Elysees as we drove past, and told us random facts about the city.
After a long day, we were finally back at the hotel. I quickly checked the internet, hoping to find my November roster, but was disappointed to find that it was late. Returning to my room I soaked in a super relaxing bubble bath and then fell into a deep, happy sleep.
I woke up the next morning and returned to the crew lounge to use the internet. Vanja was there as well, and we nervously clicked the email to view our schedule for the next month. I shrieked and felt as though I'd won the lottery when I spotted YYZ. I didn't care about the rest of my flights... I was going to Toronto! CANADA! Tim Horton's! Family!! Vanja was equally thrilled to find her very first Sydney flight (she's from Australia) and together we hugged and jumped up and down thinking that this was the greatest way to end an already amazing layover.
After a delicious buffet breakfast I went back to my room to pack up, so high on life that I sat for a good 5 minutes just watching bunnies jump across the rabbit infested field outside my window. I was in the best mood that I'd been in for quite some time, and I had Paris to thank!
I probably had a smile on my face until after we'd landed in Dubai.
I love my job, my life, the people in it, and PARIS!