While backpacking Europe, I used France as a transitional country to get to other countries. France (as pronounced with an ah, instead of like the a in pants) as I was corrected to properly pronounced it, became more of a land I was just passing through to travel to the other countries of Spain, Switzerland, and England.
I took the train through the French Riviera, which looked much like the architecture of southern California. Stopped in a few towns along the way to soak up a bit of the land before continuing on; such as, Nice and Montpellier. Nice showcases it’s very clean and urban downtown with department stores, restaurants, and modern pieces of art; while Montpellier boasts of old European structures of arches and domes with intricate details (as pictured below).
When I would spend time each city, I found the French to be quite impatient with those who didn’t understand their language in their stores – which included me. Also, when I couldn’t speak a word of French, I developed a language of my own to translate what I was trying to ask or say. This translation started in Montpellier, I couldn’t locate the train station after wandering around for hours, so I started asking people on the street if they knew where I could find it. Finally, after meeting enough people who couldn’t speak English, I started doing charades. My comedic imitation of pulling a train cord along to “choo choo” sounds got the job done, as well as creating some cheap street entertainment.
The most entertaining and the best city to see in all of France will always be Paris. On the overnight train into this fabulous city, I had to share a compartment with a family with a young girl. The German father and French wife were very nice. I found a continual pattern of the Germans not liking the French; consequently, he was on his way to visit his in-laws, which was lucky for him, because they also happened to be french. The child kept waking me up consistently throughout the night by crying, but morning came and Paris beamed with blue skies and warm June weather – finally I could be set free to explore Grand Pari.