My experiences as an intern journalist in Paris.
Working in Paris doesn’t get any easier, apparently. The feeling of being like a rabbit caught in the headlights is still there, and it’s still as difficult to gain the trust of the Parisians, who wonder why I want to ask them so many questions. As my internship progresses, and the workload piles on, I find myself writing in my sleep and walking through the streets of Paris in my dreams. Here’s some more of what I’ve learned about how not to be a journalist in Paris.
Do not wait patiently at the traffic lights, looking for the green man as you do at home- you will get nowhere. In Paris, it is perfectly acceptable to run into moving traffic when trying to cross the road. Ignore everyone else, calculate the minute amount of seconds that exist between you and the tourist bus that is coming up ahead, and make a run for it. Nobody will bat an eyelid.
Reveal your nationality to no-one. British people will talk about you loudly as they stand beside you, because they assume they are the only people in the whole of France who have the ability to understand a second language…Let them, and laugh about it unashamedly.
Some people will refuse to have their photo taken despite the fact you have just crossed ten metro stations, spent seventy euros, two hours, and a perfectly good pair of heels (not to mention feet) getting there. No, Stephanie, not everyone is interested in your journalism. Note to self: ring before turning up and asking strangers to pose for the camera.
Be prepared for people to stare at you as you take notes for your latest article- and then ask “is it for a school project, dear?” Nope, I’m writing for a magazine, believe it or not. Please let me at least pretend that I am a fully functioning and independent adult.They’ll then ask you who you’re writing for- and their faces fall when you don’t say Vogue.
Be nice to everyone. You’ll need help when your phone runs out of battery, containing your booking reference for your ticket back home. (You know something’s wrong when you start travelling first class just so you can be guaranteed a plug socket…)
“Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past”- Michael Simkins
1. A Paris Street Scene via Wikipedia Commons
2-6. Images my own.