I’m laying in my bunk in a room with 11 other people. It’s about 30C and sweat is accumulating on my forehead. I think I’m the only one left that’s wide-awake, but I’m still buzzing from the events from earlier.
This morning, one of our professors told us to stop thinking so much and to just be sponges and make our senses alive to what Paris has to offer. So, we did the normal touristy things during the day, but it was at night when I learned to truly just go with the flow of the city.
Paris does not sleep at night. After a hardy pasta dinner my friends Veronica, Madonna and I decided to walk around the canal that’s right next to the hostel. All along the promenade crowds of chatty Parisians sat with picnic blankets, baskets of food, bottles of beer and wine and music. It was their form of a Friday night out. People smoked their cigarettes while having a conversation with their friends, or they played la pétanque and another game involving knocking down blocks of wood.
It was an interesting cultural difference between Paris and Canada. Most people back home consider a night out as going to a club, rave, or a bar. The parks, harbourfronts and lakesides are empty by 10p.m. In Paris they love to go clubbing too, but the atmosphere of having a good conversation and drinks with friends or family seemed to prevail. People of all ages participated in this. Mothers rocked their babies to sleep while sipping some wine. Children played soccer and older people read newspapers, or observed the scenery.
When we got back to the hostel, other friends from exchange joined us for a drink at the bar. There’s also a club in the basement of the hostel (sounds sketch, but it was all good) and we decided to go down and dance even for just one song. We got to the entrance of the club and the bouncer stopped us saying that it was a private party. We were about to leave when a random Frenchman, who might’ve been the host of the party, asked us where we were from. We said Canada and America. He turned to a girl sitting on the floor next to him, they had a conversation and then he told us to go in and enjoy.
We pushed through the heavy black doors and were greeted with French house music. It was an older crowd inside, probably people in their thirties and forties, but they had as much energy as a crowd of One Direction fans. We danced for more than one song and at one point people started shouting “Alex, Alex, Alex!” and so did we. Before we knew it a dance circle had formed and two people were in the middle doing some sort of choreographed dance that was like their version of Thriller. Our minds were pretty much blown by this point.
We stepped outside of the hostel to get some fresh, non-sweaty air thinking our night of adventures was over. Then a very loud Parisian man came over with a bottle of wine and attempted to coax us to go to a club with him.
"We go to a latin club, it is ze best," he kept saying. Then we'd ask him where exactly it was and he'd say, "I dunno."
In my head I kept thinking about what our professor had told us earlier today, to be open to new experiences. But I wasn't going to let myself be a part of another Taken movie. We had none of our phones on us and no cash either. He didn't seem like his intentions were malicious, but we called it a night to stay on the safe side.
"Je suis très fatiguée," I said as we speedwalked into the hostel.
It was certainly an eventful midnight in Paris.