Stuck in an Elevator. In Paris.

Did I ever tell you about the time I got stuck in an elevator?
In Paris. Drunk. On their biggest National holiday.
Cause yeah, that happened.
Let’s dive in, shall we? Cause this story is a doozy.

Once upon a time, I studied abroad in Paris.
I know, I’m a lucky girl. My parents sent me abroad to learn French.
And become cultured. Maybe even mature a bit.
What followed was quite the opposite.

If you know anything about France, Bastille day is basically their 4th of July.
The whole freakin place shuts down and everyone gets drunk and dances in the streets.
I say, if you can’t beat them, join em so I was out there celebrating like I was French.
Only sloppier. A dead giveaway that I am an American.

Side note: I was once told that I “walk like an American.” 
How is that even possible? It isn’t. Walking is walking.

After a smidge too much beer, wine, vodka, of everything, we decided to go change into our “clubbing outfits.” You can’t make this shit up. Clubbing. The word just makes me giggle. I sound like a Jersey Shore cast member. 

But really, in Europe it seems they love to create these crazy, multi-level underground clubs. It’s madness but it makes the whole thing feel grungy and dangerous and fun. I realize those 3 things don’t go together but they kind of do. Only in Europe though.

When I studied abroad I had my own 7th floor studio apartment. Trust me when I say that when I arrived from California I had no idea I would be so lucky. I thought I’d have to share a room or something. Never did I imagine that we all got our own apartments (though they were tiny). Here’s my view, Eiffel Tower and all…

Livin’ the dream, right? Dang I’m jealous of past me.

So back to Bastille day…We hop in our elevator in our several hundred year old building. No biggie, we’ve taken it 200 times already. One friend gets off on 6 and two of us head to floor 7. 

Cultural note: Floor 7 in France is actually the 8th floor, 
since their first floor is called 0. 

Exactly half way between the two floors, the elevator stops.
The up arrow is flashing like we’re still moving.
Only we aren’t moving.

So naturally, I take matters into my own hands and, incredible hulk style, pull the doors open.
We are smack dab between floors. The only thing we can see is the inside of the elevator shaft.
For a minute we look at each other, laugh, and wait for it to restart.
When it doesn’t, I do what I do best. Freak out.
Here’s me, having a full blown panic attack.

Now, we don’t have cell phones because we’re studying abroad. I left mine in California and never looked back. And of course, the worlds oldest elevator doesn’t have a proper buzzer or phone in it. The emergency button did nothing.

So we resorted to yelling. And maybe crying (mostly me).

I  become convinced that we both need to hang on. We are going to plummet to our deaths.
Finally our 6th floor friend comings looking for us. She’s all decked out and ready to go.
And she hears our pathetic, primal screams and goes to get the RA, a 70 year-old British lady. 

I’m convinced everyone in the country is drunk and we won’t get out til morning. Said British lady uses her soothing, maternal accent to calm us down. And wouldn’t ya know it? They found an elevator fixer guy at 11:30pm, and 45 minutes later, he manually cranks the dang thing up and we climb on out.

Longest hour of my life.

Our RA felt so bad, she offered us pastries. Who randomly has beautiful french pastries at 11:30 at night? We accept her offer, scarf down some croissants and head back to our rooms. Clubbing outfits. Beverages. And then of course the nightclubs. Couldn’t let a little panic attack ruin a perfectly good chance to dance the night away, now could we? Oh Paris, how I miss thee.

I took the stairs for at least a week. But only a week. 
Cause 8 flights of stairs is just 7 too many.

  • As terrifying as being stuck in an elevator is, I’m really jealous of your adventures in Paris. I wanna go!!!!

    • You should go! No one ever said, “gee, I wish I hadn’t gone to Paris.” No one. I promise it’s worth the trip.

  • Hahaha this is awesome. I definitely regret never studying abroad. And now I work in the field of study abroad so I’m living through all the students! But seriously, this is definitely one of those stories that is hilarious now but was awful at the time!

    • I’m so thankful that I studied abroad. I look back and I wish I had explored more and embraced the culture. I was really there to party but I guess that was fun too.

  • Oh goodness, being stuck in an elevator is one of my biggest fears. After reading this I feel like I need some Xanax!

    • I was never a huge fan of elevators before but now, anything over about 8 stories really terrifies me.

  • Walking like an American? That’s hilarious!

    • I know, right? They also said I dressed American, which I believe.

  • It’s SO true. You really can tell some (but not all) Americans by how they walk. I’ve lived in England for six years and I’m still trying to lose the American Walk, and I can totally spot it in other people now! -Jenna

    • What? How is it even a thing? I would love to know what the walk actually looks like. More carefree? More uptight? I’m so confused but it’s crazy that you notice it now.

  • seriously dying laughing at your friend all decked out and looking for you. I got stuck on the elevator at work for like, 37 seconds once and I FREAKED out. p.s. I am LOVING your new layout and design!!

    • Thank you! Yeah I don’t love elevators now. In fact, it might be a good thing for my health because I take the stairs a lot more often.

  • SH

    THis is an awesome story! Terrifying..but something to look back on and laugh about 🙂

    Hope you’re having a wonderful day!
    The Hartungs Blog

    • Exactly. At the time it was terrifying but now I’m like, eh it’s a funny story. Something to blog about!

  • Pure panic! I am always terrified this will happen to me and I will, without a doubt, be on the verge of peeing my pants.

    • Well I used to think it wasn’t something to worry about and now I know that it is!

  • Ahhhhh! I loved this story so much! I’m pretty sure I would have reacted the same way! But it also sounds like an amazing adventure! 🙂

    • I’m glad my friend was like, gee, we really need to capture this moment with a photograph lol. Like now I have proof that I was really freaking out.

  • How scary!! My dream is to live in Paris!! So beautiful… hopefully that doesn’t happen however!! 🙂

    • I lived there for 2 months and I loved it. Although I will say that I found that the tourists from other European countries were the nicest. The French weren’t terribly nice to a little American girl just wanting to practice her french.

  • I love your new design, so classy lookin’! I laughed out loud at this post and simultaneously got sad because it made me miss Italy! Bless your heart, I would have freaked out as well!

    • Thank you! I love it too. I’m glad the story is funny now. I even giggle when I read it but I can’t believe that it happened. I remember being terrified but it’s also just so ridiculous.

  • Hahaha I can only imagine how much worse it was because you were drunk. I’m glad that you were able to soldier forth though with your plans. Doing your American duty of representin’. 😉

    • I mean, I had to. Wasn’t going to let it ruin my night! Lol

  • Wow, how scary! I’m glad you weren’t stuck in there for much longer.

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