The Best Thing to Do in Paris (What the Guide Books Will Never Tell You!)

It was true in the seventies and remains true today, especially for students in Paris or for any visitors planning on staying longer the a few days: Find a friend.

If you are a foreign student studying in Paris, more than likely, the first people you’ll meet will be other foreign students. I’ll never forget the first friends I made in Paris – their memory is engraved in my heart – they were not only friends but teachers. Some of them have returned to their homelands to fulfill their destiny and others remain in Paris, fast friends to this day.
Nabbe from the Republic of Guinea and Georgette from Athens were my first French teachers. Nabbe would help me practice conjugating verbs while we ate ice cream at the Drugstore on the Champs Elysees. He taught me about the African experience of living in France. (starting by giving me a copy of Guinean writer Camara Laye’s book “Black Child” to read). Georgette would help me with my phonetics back at the dorm on Boulevard Raspail. She told me about life in Athens compared to Paris.
Angelique arrived at my door wanting to learn English – she already spoke French fluently, having grown up in Cambodia. A few years back she brought me a book of French proverbs and suggested I had better learn a few proverbs if I ever wanted to speak French. If you stay long enough in France, you’ll make French friends too.
Friendship is the most valuable gift of living in France. And for this reason, friendship isn’t offered lightly. Once offered,in many cases, it’s a gift for life.