Having officially been in France (and semi-conscious) for just over 48-hours (Paris – Lyon – Toulouse – Paris – Vernon/Giverny), I’ve already learned:
- When flying Icelandair, bring food and water, especially if your layover in Reykjavik is from 11pm-1am. Everything is closed and there are no water fountains.
- Drink (water) to battle jet lag, at every opportunity.
- Toulouse’s symbol is the violet and you can find things made with violet everywhere.
- Use the restroom on the train because it’s free (unlike the €.70 ones in the train station), but don’t expected it to be clean.
- E. Leclerc (French grocery store) is not the same thing as E. Leclerc Drive.
- French children can be just as loud as American ones.
- Wine is unbelievably cheap. €4 for a beautiful rosé.
- Fresh squeezed orange juice is always the best option.
- Foie gras in France bears absolutely no resemblance to the pale, lard-like imitation under the same name found in the United States.
- À point is medium rare. Saignant is rare. Bien cuit is well done. These phrases are important.
- Free Mobile’s €19.99 plan is amazing. Unless you need coverage everywhere, in which case you discover that you get exactly what you pay for.
- Having a bank account in France makes everything easier (I do not yet have one).
- The Paris metro is somehow easier to navigate than New York’s.
- The trains have a magical ability to lull you either into a daze-like state or to sleep. Set an alarm.