Top to bottom: summer carnival at Jardin des Tuileries; a portion of the Louvre; pink façade at Rue St. Paul; Place des Vosges park; skyline of Île Saint-Louis with the Notre Dame peeking out; love locks; me romanticizing with the love locks; Claude Monet's paintings at Musée d'Orsay; the garden at Versailles; the stunning Hermès Sèvres shop; a stall of the famous Berthillon ice cream; a typical Parisian building frontage; Pont des Arts at night; Paris from the rooftop at Printemps
I will never forget the moment I stepped out of Gare du Nord. The summer heat made me a bit uncomfortable but as the Parisian façade finally came to life, all the senses within me left; the only thing that stayed was pure, unadulterated awe.
Paris was a dream of mine for so long that it became elusive. I've traveled to several places, some of them near France but for some reason, I never ended up there. So I would wonder and wonder, 'When would it be my turn to set foot on the city that claims to be the most beautiful?' Like any other dreamer, I sought it in other forms. Through films, novels, magazines, food, the language. And no matter what form, Paris always drew me in. At that point, there was only one thing left to do: fully immerse myself in the most magical city in the world.
And when it finally happened, I was a wide-eyed woman. How could a city like this exist? No details unironed out, no stones left unturned, no mediocrity in sight. There was great uniformity, especially in the rooftops and balconies and cafés, but in that sameness, I still found individual sparks. Their respect for cultural, intellectual, and artistic pursuits was almost religious that any form of corporate and money endeavors seemed meager in portion. Museums have become homes, sidewalks are filled with bookstores, fashion stores are synonymous to artistic canvases, and well-designed typography can be spotted in every hung sign. And then there is their sacred devotion to the slow, good life. The Parisians have got that down pat, treating it like an art. Park benches are filled with book-reading lads and ladies, cafés have their set of people-watchers and coffee-drinkers. Life is meant to be savored and enjoyed, slow down. It's all classic French iconography.
A quote said, 'Cities have genders. Paris is a woman.' In its alluring elegance and mystifying charm, in its pure, feminine attention to detail and devotion to the arts and everything beautiful, in its brave embrace of raw, unspoiled life, Paris is truly a woman. And I am so glad to have finally, finally met her. I hope that one day you do, too.
Classy Musings' Mini-Guide to Paris
1. For a Valrhona crêpe: Breizh Café in the Marais distrct
2. For the best, non-touristy view of Paris (which includes the Eiffel): Rooftop of Printemps
3. For a beautiful, intimate park: Jardin du Palais de Royal
4. For that perfect Parisian wine moment complete with a cheese and foie gras plate (and more!) in a non-descript bar tucked in an alley: Frenchie Bar à Vins
5. For a museum that is NOT the Louvre but is just as impressive: Museu Picasso or Musée Marmottan Monet