This post was contributed by Amanda Rodriguez
On our final day in Paris during our first solo (meaning without either of our parents) trip, my best friend, Ani, and I headed out for what we hoped would be the best first night clubbing ever. We were 19 at the time and you can’t get into many clubs in the US if you’re under 21 (not any cool ones anyway).
Tindering the night away
After spending the afternoon on the Champ de Mars splitting a bottle of wine, we had been engulfed in the spirit of Paris. We decided to make the most out of our final night and both re-downloaded Tinder. We swiped right on every single person and tried to get a feel for the nightlife and what everyone was doing. A few hours into our investigative work and a few back and forth Facebook messages with our only Parisian friend, we decided on FAUST. It’s hard enough as is to find a club in Europe that plays anything but techno, and our outing just happened to land on a Wednesday night so we gave up on our Urban music search pretty much the second we landed in Paris.
Paris isn’t Miami
We figured being born and bred in Miami, a city known for its nightclubs, we had the perfect clubbing style so we walked out in our mini dresses and reasonably high-ish heels. So, turns out there’s a bit of a difference between Miami club attire and Parisian club attire… and we were WAY overdressed. But, it wasn’t so bad considering how many times we had been approached by *(unbelievably)* gorgeous French men.
Our outfits made us stand out which would have been great if it hadn’t put us in some weird positions
The man who grabbed my arm in line for the bathroom and yelled “FEMME” in my face.
The man who followed us down the Seine to tell us how ridiculously tall we were for women.
The club bouncer who took one look at us and said “Americans?”
We partied at FAUST for a while and kind of came to the realization that the music just wasn’t for us. I was tired and ready to go to sleep, but Ani was not about to let the night end there, a quality I appreciate in hindsight. We walked around the Pont Alexandre III for some time until these two men in motorcycle helmets approached us.
Antoine and Mr Foot-in-mouth
They took their helmets off and introduced themselves, Antoine and Leo. Antoine, the brunette, began speaking to us in French but we cut him off with the confused look on our faces since neither I nor Ani knew a word of French back then. “English?” he asked. We nodded, and he asked where we were from. “Miami! This is actually our last night in Paris,” we added. Then, his friend chimed in and said
“Oh! Americans, so you guys have seen the movie “Taken”?”
Safe to say Ani and I screamed and backed away only to have Leo, Mr Foot-in-mouth, realize how much he must have just spooked us and began to add that he studied in the US and his family lives there, so he understands the way some Americans feel about Europe.
I guess I understood where he was coming from but still definitely not a way to strike up a conversation. We talked a little more and expressed with them our displeasure in the lack of, I guess one would say “American music.” They talked up a bougie club they were headed to on the right bank right off the Champs Élysées and asked if we would like to go. We were more than skeptical after Mr. Foot-in-mouth’s Taken reference, but they gave us the name, L’arc, told us to google it and its legitimacy on our own terms, and gave us their number. In case we ended up there, they would help get us in. Our two new friends took off on their motorcycles but not before mentioning that Rihanna had thrown a birthday party at L’arc about 200 times.
This sounded promising so we checked the Yelp reviews and when everything was checked out, ordered an Uber. Our drive through the city, to drop off our co-Uber-passengers (budget travelers gotta take Uberpool always), only made us like the city more and more. It’s safe to say a night like ours, in a city like this, was enough to permanently capture my heart. We saw, for the first time, the Eiffel Tower twinkle in the Parisian skyline and knew:
Even if our night didn’t end as we wanted, this wasn’t going to be the end of our time here.
Our night ended shortly after when we got to the club only for the guys, who had been partying inside, to get kicked out and yelled at by the bouncer. The whole interaction went down in French but the man standing behind us told us it roughly translated to “I will give you 1,000,000 euro if you’re ever actually allowed back in this club.” AWKWARD… so, we decided to split. We walked away, confused and a lil’ annoyed, but we remembered that we were in Paris!
It may not have ended exactly how we planned but we took away so many new experiences and an adoration for this new culture – the culture of cute French boys making Taken references to scare us and the culture of them getting kicked out of the CLERB before we could even get in.
You know what, I’m not even bitter. To be 19, in Paris, and doin’ the most at 2 am is enough to satisfy me.
Savor these messy moments, because you never know when you’ll have ’em again!
Meet Amanda: I’m a 20 something student from Miami, Florida who has always had a need to travel. My mom came from Cuba when she was a little girl and worked every day of her life so she would have the money to see the world. It was always something she craved. Growing up, she taught me all the same things and shared with me lessons she learned and experienced that formed her through her travels. Now, I’m out here doing my dang thing and traveling too! Keep up with me on IG.