Paris, France

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I met my sister, Tracy, and her family in Paris while they were vacationing for four days of wandering and site-seeing. It was my first time to Paris and it was great exploring with her because she studied in Paris for a year in college, knows the city and speaks very good French which took the stress out of ordering croissants. I was surprised to discover that no one I encountered in Paris wanted to speak in English which without my sister made everything incredibly awkward and embarrassing for this tourist who didn’t want to speak French. In this city – the local Parisian hipsters out-hipstered me — English is apparently too mainstream.

Living up to the hype of Paris is no easy task. Since the 1940s, American popular culture has oozed idolatry of the romantic café culture, art, historic architecture, food and “Frenchness” of everything: elegance, sophistication, history and glamour. When expectations are so high, living up to the hype is almost an impossible order and I expected...