The 16th, Goodbye

Today is our last full day in the 16th arrondissement. We did steal one of our days here for an overnight in Versailles, but c’mon, it’s Versailles!

So here are my thoughts on this arrondissement. It’s located in what I would consider a sweet spot. We’re abutted against the 7th, always walking distance to the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. It’s a mix of tourists and proper Parisians. Everything we could need is a five minute walk in any direction.

If we were to choose the 16th we likely end up in the Auteuil neighborhood. You ever end up someplace and it feels like returning home? That’s how I felt in the Auteuil. And though we are heading to the 10th tomorrow we already have plans to head back to Auteuil again before this trip ends.

In our time here we have already found places that are ours. Coffee shop, tobac shop, and a favorite local restaurant. It already feels like home. Which lead to a serious talk about not picking this place before we’ve been in the 10th, 3rd, and 11th. The next few weeks are going to be really interesting and a lot of fun.

This city is magic.

In all of our time here I’ve tried to lean in. It was intimidating at first because I hate sounding stupid by butchering their language. It’s not remotely the same spoken by natives as what you learn in your apps or high school class. There is nuance and speed to consider. Coupled with the fact that I am basically a dumbass and it all gets a little overwhelming. But I have tried. And when I stumble the Parisians I encounter are gracious and incredibly patient with me. I think that I even try is something to them.

Fun fact – I (think I) was mistaken for a Parisian yesterday by an Italian couple. They asked if I could take their photo so I did. Without thinking the gentleman said grazie and I responded with prego. His eyes lit up as he rattled off Italian – I shot him down with a non, non parlez Italian or some shit and switched back to broken French and thanked me effusively. I loved it.

Locks of Love
Locks of Love

We make jokes about the tourists in the red berets. But here’s the thing. I fucking love those red berets. I love the couples, young and old, taking selfies as they kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower. I love those saccharine romantics who buy the locks to stick on the bridge with the names of their loved ones requited or otherwise. I absolutely loved the boy stopping me on the bridge exclaiming, it’s really real! It’s not just in the movies!

Every single one of those people are leaning in hard.

This. City. Is. Magic.

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©2024 Rudy Martinez