That Other Time I Went to France

I’m traveling to Paris this weekend and its brought up some memories of my first trip to France. I was about five or six and since I was very young, the events where I had strong emotions left me with my only memories. Thus, I have exactly four memories of my first time in France.

Mona Lisa Crowd

While we were in Paris we went to the Louvre of course and saw the Mona Lisa there. The only thing I remember was the massive crowd of people lifting their cameras above their heads to take a picture of the infamous painting. There were flashes going off every second and I was just trying to see her smile. Being a short youngster I could barely see the painting and I really just wanted to leave the obnoxious people behind. It was an overwhelming scene.

Witnessing a Bar Fight

As we were walking down a street in the middle of the day, a bar fight was erupting between two men. It was violent and spilled out onto the street. I was curious and wanted to watch this event play out, but my mom quickly hurried her young children away.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream?

This is one of my family’s favorite stories to tell. We were at some sort of carnival that was going on in Paris and my sisters decided they wanted ice cream. I wanted cotton candy though and they gave me a huge one! Easily twice the size of my head. Anyways, my two sisters got their ice cream and started licking away. They noticed though that there were chocolate chips when there shouldn’t have been. Upon closer inspection, they were flies! Small gnats and lots of them. Back at the ice cream stand we suddenly noticed that the lights above the counter had those same gnats swarming. I was thankfully safe in my choice of cotton candy while my sisters ate some bugs.

Hot Air Balloon Fiasco

Probably one of my most scarring experiences as a child honestly. My family and I went up in a hot air balloon in the French countryside on Bastille Day. It was beautiful, but that’s not the part that I remember. At the end of our ride we were landing in the land of a farm. Our pilot was calling the people to tell them where we landed so they could come pick us up and my stepdad, being a photographer, got out of the basket to take pictures of the cows in the pasture. Suddenly we saw a man coming toward us and yelling in French. My stepdad, already on his way back to us, broke into a job and got back into the basket. The obviously drunk Frenchman continued yelling at us and had a crowbar in his hand. Our pilot tried to reason with him, but was unsuccessful and started attempting to put the hot air balloon back up into the air. The man with the crowbar started hitting our basket as me and my sisters began to freak out and cry. We got back up into the air thankfully and went to look for a new landing place. The DRUNK man got into his car and followed us to where we had to land because we didn’t have enough fuel to go far. Once we landed again our pilot got out to talk to him and attempt to reason again, far away from us this time. Eventually our car came to pick us up and we were able to leave the scene. I remember thinking and being terrified that our pilot might have been hurt after we left and I still don’t know exactly what happened to him.

Alright, that’s it from my current memories of France. Hopefully this weekend in Paris will give some better ones!

Stay tuned for my Paris Itinerary!


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