Aero: Ayla Sandifur – France 2015 – City Life


Aero: Ayla Sandifur – France 2015 – City Life
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Ayla Sandifur – France 2015 – City Life


Ayla Sandifur

First arriving Paris, I was absolutely amazed. This city was beyond what I imagined it would look like. Never traveling internationally or even to a big city, I had nothing to compare to this city too. When we were leaving the airport on the train to go to where our hotel was, I noticed all the graffiti on the concrete walls outside the underpass ways. I didn’t think Paris would have graffiti around the city or trash laying in the fields we passed. No one talks to anyone they don’t know. Not even smile when they make eye contact with someone. Everyone on the train had their headphones in or was on their cellphone. Most of the people in France had a smartphone from what I could see. Walking the streets of Paris, I felt so alive and I didn’t feel so out of place. No one really would notice me or look at me unless I was talking. We arrived at the hotel so early, we couldn’t check into our rooms. Check in was at eleven in the morning and check out was at nine in the morning. In America, most hotels have check out at noon and check in is late afternoon or early evening. We decided we would leave our luggage in a small little closet that would be locked under a key until we would come back.

Being out in public, I was so fascinated by every little thing. Their vehicles were much, much smaller and looked like they could be brand new or gently used. Their police cars had the most annoying sirens I had ever heard. I wanted to drown my ears every time I heard one. On almost every street near our hotel, were those bikes with baskets you see in romantic movies that are in France. I had such a bad urge to rent one and ride it around the city, but like how we have bus passes, they have rental bike passes. The bikes are also universal. You can return them to any charging station for the bikes and it will charge for the next person. The building were so tall I felt like a little tiny person standing in front of all these gigantic buildings. I am guessing the French don’t like variety in their architecture, since a lot buildings looked the same or had the same color. Most buildings also had a shop underneath and then people would live above. Walking late at night in Paris, I would always see at least two dogs who would be running around without a leash on. This is when I noticed they don’t stray from their owners and they are very well trained.

In America, the buildings are separate from their homes and most businesses are in one area and then residential buildings are in another area or they are intergraded in one town or city. Also, in America we have much more variety of vehicles people drive and can choose from. There isn’t just cars and vans, but we have trucks and jeeps. We also don’t keep our cars or trucks very clean. We will drive through the mud and rain and then go weeks or months before the vehicle goes through a car wash. One similarity I did notice is, France and America both value public transportation and all the buses in both countries have their destination stops digitally on the front of the bus. But in France, the public buses are much bigger and wider to fit more people for each destination. As for pets, in America there is a strict leash law when you are in public. Rather if you are walking your dog on a side walk or at a park, you must have your dog on a leash at all times no matter how well trained they are.


ML@FLCC France 2015 Flickr Photo Gallery

Arriving in Vitrè, I could already tell the environment and atmosphere was completely different than Paris. If anything it reminded me more of home. There was fields and fields of the greenest grass I had ever seen in my life. It was the most beautiful view I had ever seen. The sun was setting and the air was warm. I was excited to be in a different setting than a city but still be in France. I didn’t think I would be so happy to see such a familiar environment. When I left with my host family, the town we were in was just as gorgeous as Paris. It was pitch dark since it was late at night but the cars headlights lit up more than enough for me to see. The houses looked like they were vintage and the roofs seemed to look like they can definitely take a beating. I learned that even though the houses look like they are made out of concrete or cement, they are really constructed of straw and cement. The houses were originally built with a wooden frame structure and the cement and straw mix is fairly new. I loved how most the houses in this little village had these window shutter like things but they weren’t. A lot of houses also had this drop down cover that looked similar to garage doors in America that covered their windows. Most families would put them down at night and they would stay down until morning. I wondered if this was so it ensured complete privacy or to keep bugs out of the house at night but I didn’t ask to find out. I was walking one day with Marie and I saw an ambulance vehicle that was so tiny, they can’t fit anyone in the car on a gurney. Marie told me it’s not for emergencies. If someone is having trouble walking to get to their house or needs assistance running errands, they can just call a number, give the dispatcher their location and someone will be there to assist the caller. Also, walking around the village, we discovered many cow and goat farms that also had pigs and horses. It was like I was at home smelling all the cow and horse manure. Even though Paris and Vitrè are different from each other, I was still reminded of home a bit.

Ayla Sandifur
LEAF Contributor