We are not stationary creatures, we are fluid and adaptable.
That is, if we let ourselves be.
The uneven paths are greeted by a sea of bonjour, friendly by habit but not always by thought. Scents come from all directions: from the boulangerie to a whiff of perfumes and colognes. My eyes are constantly roaming and my jaw dropped at the beauty around me; of old architecture with its vintage charm, to a very well-dressed population of bright colours against the grey sky. No longer feeling overdressed, I now blend better into the crowd in this new city. Or so I’d like to believe.
Whether it’s my ethnicity, vibrant green hair or obviously not French accent, I’m still the odd one out. In the attempt to stand out less, I have learned to jaywalk against my will, pay with bills as to avoid scrambling through my wallet for unlearned coin values, and avoid the constant apologies as taught by my Canadian ways. What I will refuse to take up though is smoking. Is that why there is a pharmacie at almost every corner? My inner parent screams for underage children with these sticks.
This city is a maze one wouldn’t want to escape. It is compact in every way: small cars, quaint storefronts and tiny streets. And in every corner, it is where you will meet famous French writers, politicians and personas. Well figuratively, as rues are named after them. And so to see Rue H. de Balzac was such a treat, but could you imagine the release of my inner geek when I stood in front of his original home? I wanted to share it to the world, but they might mistake me for a weirdo.
Finding a North American style gym has been a difficult feat and I’m only growing more concerned by the day as I’ve become captive to my surroundings, categorized by great food and drinks. From fresh groceries that make any trip to the supermarket an adventure, to cheap wine that I’ve been swindled to pay four times the price back home, Tours is haven to foodies. Really, I’ve become prisoner.
My first proper dinner was amusingly at an Italian restaurant, but that does not go to say it wasn’t without French flair. Duck on your pasta or pizza, anyone? How about some foie gras? Eaten by curiousity, despite my friend’s immediate rejection of such delicacy, I decided to give it a try. It melted in my mouth like butter, a texture foreign to this foreigner. Naturally.
Yet eating out must be well-timed. Past lunchtime and before dinner, between the hours of 14:00 and 18:00, most restaurants and bars are closed. I have been warned about this prior to my arrival, yet hunger makes you forget all logic. Thus, never leave your fridge or cupboard empty. This is especially more important on Sundays where everything is closed! Le dimanche, c’est le temps pour repos.
This first week has been quite the ride, but uncovering the little secrets of this city and vibrant culture is only the beginning. There is so much beauty to be photographed; if only I wasn’t afraid to take on the role that I wish to become. Here’s to wishing me good luck.