A Warm Welcome to Paris

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I’ve concluded that Parisians are among the nicest, friendliest people I’ve ever met. It seems as though they can’t do enough for us, whether it’s giving us detailed instructions for getting somewhere, chatting about their relatives who live in Ontario, or accompanying us to a bus stop and not leaving until they’re certain we’ve understood everything we need to know.

The sweetest act of hospitality that I received yesterday was a little, old, white haired lady who whipped out her wallet on the bus and insisted, with surprising vehemence, on paying our bus fares.

“Non, Madame!” I protested, but she persisted.

“C’est un cadeau de la France! A gift from France!” she announced dramatically, requesting only kisses in payment. “I am a third-generation Parisian, and there is no place like this on earth. It’s the most wonderful city in the world. Enjoy it and fall in love with Paris, too.”

Every interaction has been full of surprising, unexpected acts of kindness. It’s got me thinking about how much hospitality Canadians offer visitors, and I hope I can pay forward many of the favours I’ve received in just our first day here.

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