I'm writing to you from Paris, France where I've lived for the past ten years. I think we’re doing way better than what you’re reading in the news. We are getting the most rain in 100 years. That part is true. You might want to bring an umbrella.
But seriously, we’re OK and it’s a great time to visit. Paris needs you and needs you to tell all your friends that it’s OK to travel and it’s OK to visit France.
The river Seine is NOT rising up to the front doors of the Louvre. I was just there last week visiting with some friends and we had a ball walking the halls and seeing the famous paintings.
Yes, the river is still too high for the boat cruises but the buses are running their circuits and it’s fun to stand on the bridges and imagine what the Seine looks like when it’s really rising.
I've just used the bus and metro and RER (the regional train) to visit the monuments and was so happy to see all the people who have come to watch the soccer match (Euro 2016) in the Fan Zone of the Eiffel Tower. I can’t even count the number of languages I was hearing. And everyone is loud and cheering for their teams. Is it a little rowdy? Yes. But it’s soccer!
And yes, there is extra, visible security around to remind us that there are bad people in the world and we need to be aware of it. But at least they’re here looking out for us. They will ask to check your bag and maybe run a wand over your body. It might have you standing in line a few minutes longer, but I promise, you’ll get to your destination.
And the strikes. Let’s talk about that. It’s a national past time in France. If we didn’t have strikes, I’d think something was wrong with the French. Is the timing bad? Of course it is. But you are STILL going to be able to use public transportation and take the TGV to Aix-en-Provence and other parts of the country. Things might be running a little slower, but they’re still running.
Imagine what you’re missing. French restaurants, French wine, French style, French design. And the dollar is in your favor! About $1.13 for every euro you spend. That’s a pretty nice handbag for a LOT less than you would have paid for it two years ago.
I love Paris. And I believe the world at large does too. I believe that we can all still have a great time visiting this beautiful, magical city. Even in the rain.
So come on America. Come to Paris.
Donna Morris is tour guide in Paris. Follow her "Best Friend in Paris" blog here