When I first arrived in Paris I was timid to go anywhere because of the language barrier. But this feeling of being lost in translation puts you into survival mode. The best way to deal with this is to just get out there and do it. You are going to get lost the first couple of times but then you end up finding a new part of this beautiful city.
The Paris Metro system is so easy to use. All you need to know is the color and number of the line you are taking, the station you wish to get off at, and the name of the end of that line because that gives you the direction in which the train is going. When you get off to transfer lines pay close attention to the signs because they pop up quickly and disappear easily due to large crowds rushing to their destinations. During the day, the trains come every 2-5 minutes. This is awesome compared to the Muni and its delays.
There are metro maps in each information booth. Just approach the workers and ask nicely for help or a map. Start off with ‘Hello, sorry I do not speak French’ (Bonjour, desole je ne parle pas fraçais ) and they should be delighted to help you after they give you sarcasm of not being fluent in French.
Every Thursday I have one class in the suburbs of Paris, called Ermont Eaubonne, due to space limitations at the main campus in Paris. This suburb is only 15 minutes north of Paris but the commute from my home is exactly 1 hour. Although I rather not have to leave my house before the sun comes out, I do appreciate seeing a different part of France. The train is above ground so you can sight see. I take Train H to this school from the main station Gare du Nord in Paris. Your first trip by yourself is overwhelming but you just have to look at the digital screen and look for the end destination and departure time and it will tell you which platform to stand on. The trains are so nice clean and comfortable.
Thaly’s – Amsterdam
I took a 3-hour Thaly train to Amsterdam. All Thalys leave from the central station Gare du Nord. Thaly’s can you take you pretty much anywhere in Europe. While I was in Amsterdam everyone was riding their bikes. My friend, whom I visited, said that they ride their bikes in every kind of whether. Before traveling to Amsterdam I did not know that it was one of the most water-covered cities in the world. This is one of the reasons Amsterdam is so beautiful. The canal boarders are filled with chained bikes and boats.