When I ask my European friends and co-workers about Paris, most of them scrunch their face, shrug a bit, and say something along the lines of ‘It’s fine.’

The responses I’ve got have included the city being too expensive, too crowded, chock full of rude people, unsafe, and my favorite, ‘It smells.’ One friend has warned me continually that if I go, there’s a good chance I’ll get mugged.

It doesn’t sound too appealing a place.

I just booked my ticket.

The Paris depicted in films and on tv is the true ‘City of Love’ where beautiful people in berets buy baguettes, eat croissants, and take casual romantic strolls in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The land is always green, the accents decipherable, and the people happy.

Plus, I’ll admit, I just want to see the Eiffel Tower and say I’ve seen it, if nothing else. It’s iconic.

Though when I said that to a co-worker, she grimaced and said, “Have you seen Rome? That’s much better. And more iconic.” But I’ve been to Rome, so Paris it is!

Less than a month separates me from a reunion with the United States and I may not be handling it that well; I’m denying that it’s happening and trying to make the most of the next few weeks, which includes a trip to Paris. Returning to America without having seen the Eiffel Tower would make me feel like a failure, but it would also seem such a wasted opportunity.

I’m somewhat on edge about the holiday, given all the complaints of my well-travelled friends and the semi-crippling fear that I’ll be robbed, but there are a few things I desperately want to see: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Moulin Rouge. If I don’t see them now, I probably never will, and I’m not going to let fear hold me back. If I’m going to shell out several hundred dollars for a vacation to Europe once I’m not living here, Paris won’t be my destination. It’s now or never and I’ve chosen now.

Besides, if I don’t like Paris, I’ll feel less touristy and more European than ever before.

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