My feelings on Paris are pretty easy to sum up:
“Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway
The 10 months I spent living in (okay, near) Paris were hands down some of the greatest of my life. It was there, in a city I felt comfortable calling home, that I became who I am today. It sounds cheesy, but the people I met and the experiences I shared with them during that year were formative to say the least. It was in Paris that I had my very first taste of heartbreak, eventually becoming more resilient and confident than ever. Oh, and I learnt to salsa, which is probably the most important thing of all. My grand return to the city I love, then, was well overdue but still I was a little hesitant – my dad always says that you should leave wanting more; how could Paris possibly live up to the memories I cherish? Had the passage of time given me rose-tinted glasses?
Don’t be ridiculous.
Say what you like about Paris, but it is the city of postcards for a reason. Around every corner a photo is lying ready to be snapped, a pastry is begging to be eaten and a story is just waiting to unfold. Whatever your tastes and your fancies, Paris has something that is guaranteed to take your breath away, be it art, architecture, food, wine or culture.
We were only in Paris for one whole day this time around, but we sure made the most of it:
- Sampling some of the best cheese around at Laurent Dubois; after much uhm-ing ah-ing and sample eat-ing we eventually plumped for some brioche, roquefort and one recommendation of the guy who worked there, so pungent it broke one of our party for an entire afternoon.
- Purchasing a fine baguette and some fizzy pink wine (one of my favourite beverages when I was last in Paris, always a class act) for a sunlit picnic in the Jardin de Luxembourg which is hands down one of my favourite places to go
- Browsing the kiosks along the banks of the Seine until we spotted the unmistakeable silhouette of Notre Dame on the horizon. Selfies ensued.
- Obliging to expectation and doing the ‘finger on the pyramid’ pose at the Louvre (it took us many attempts to be even mildly successful)
- Perusing the shelves at The Abbey Bookshop, a magical and incredible shop rammed full of books old and new. I fell in love with a hardbound illustrated version of Hans Christian Andersen fairytales, as well as an illustrated collection of Winne the Pooh stories for my niece. I could’ve stayed there all day – when I overheard the girl who worked the till saying she was soon leaving the post for uni studies, I very nearly volunteered myself. I still might.
- Completing the pilgrimage to the Eiffel Tower at night. Undeniably striking during the day, there’s something about the monument at night – all light up and unashamedly sparkly – that leaves me a little speechless.
- Eating everything. And I mean everything, including but not limited to: crème brûlée, crêpes, poulet fermier, pain au chocolat, steak, frites, freshly baked baguette, all of the wine.
My only regret? Coming back home. Paris, wait for me.