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The Paris Metro might be *too* efficient if you’re there for the World Cup

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If you’re visiting Paris, be prepared to be 15 minutes early to everything.

Paris Metro Station Illustration Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

PARIS, France — I used to have a problem with punctuality. Everything was always a race to be on time, usually ending with me at the entrance of my destination covered in sweat from sprinting the last five minutes.

At some point I decided I couldn’t go on that way, so now I aim to get everywhere about 15 minutes early. When combined with the multitudinous inefficiencies in Boston’s public transit system, this attitude usually puts me right on time.

It’s a hard habit to break, and I carried it over to my travels in Paris. My first few trips on the Metro, I added an extra 15 minutes to my transit app’s estimated travel time. I ended up everywhere half an hour early.

Okay, so the app is more accurate than I thought. I tried to adjust, and began leaving at the time recommended by the app. I ended up everywhere 15 minutes early. Irrationally, this made me feel stupid, like some tourist rube who was afraid of the Metro and therefore overcompensating.

I began playing it closer and closer to the vest. Sunday morning, I left after the recommended time on my app for brunch, convinced I’d have to make the old 5-minute dash to my destination. I was there 10 minutes early. Admittedly, it was Sunday, and much of Paris is borderline deserted on Sunday morning.

Friends, it’s time for a spicy take about the capital city of our very hospitable World Cup host: the Paris Metro might be too good. I feel, at this point, that it is going to lure me into a cushion of comfort and then there will be some kind of stoppage, as there inevitably is in any transit system the size of Paris’, and I will be 30 minutes late for a press event or a dinner and everyone is going to think that I’m that woman who is always late. I don’t ever want to go back to the time when I was showing up to meet people I respect looking like I just played 90 minutes, asking for a moment and a glass of water before I could speak.

I really didn’t think the trains in the City of Love would spur an existential crisis about the bad habits I overcame in my twenties. I’m the person who believes in punctuality, not the person who risks it all on the assumption the trains will continue to be excellent. Have I gotten too comfortable? Is this just the haze of living in Paris and becoming some kind of cosmopolitan European transit-taker against my will? They say it takes three weeks to establish a new habit, and I will be in Paris for longer than that. What if I return to Boston and this kind of louche behavior continues?

Really, I think I’m just afraid to go back to the loud, dirty hole in the ground that is the MBTA. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, I could live here, mostly just after I’ve managed to successfully conduct a conversation with a shopkeeper at least 90 percent in French. Well, 80 percent. Okay 70%. But at least I can take the Metro really well.