“Most people dislike Paris on their first visit,” said my sister, Stephanie who happened to be in Paris when I initially began writing this.
On my first visit to the City of Lights, at sixteen, I didn’t dislike Paris, but it certainly didn’t seduce me. Since then, I’ve grown to appreciate many aspects of French culture – fine French wine, a delightfully fresh croissant, and the simple yet refined fashion sense of French women. Paris appeals to sophisticated palettes, and I now understand why Stephanie has fallen head over heels.
Here’s a list of the loveliest parts of Paris according to me:
1. Filling my bicycle basket with flowers, cheese and a baguette from the market.
2. The simple, unadorned style of French women; the impeccable tailoring, attention to detail and lack of excess is breathtaking.
3. A society that walks (and takes the metro) rather than drives. A culture that consumes less, but better.
4. Long, beautiful boulevards with noteworthy sights at every corner
5. Strong coffee with the view of Sacré Cœur in the distance
6. The grassy Montmartre hill that rapidly fills with twenty and thirty-somethings drinking Merlot and discussing Romanticism
7. Afternoons spent perusing the vintage and high street shops of Le Marais
8. Le Centre Pompidou for all things modern art (and an extraordinary view of the city below)
9. La patisserie des rêves for a less touristy, but still magical macaron experience
10. Musée d’Orsay for all your Impressionist needs. If you know me at all, you know Edgar Dégas is my favourite artist of all time.
11. Taking cheesy tourist photos atop the red bus tour. I’m sorry but it’s the best way to acquaint oneself with any city.
12. Jardin des Tuilleries for a spectacular natural retreat within the heart of Paris
13. Fresh croissants that melt in your mouth available at any bakery in Montmartre
14. Self-guided tours at le Palais de Versailles and cycling around the grounds pretending I’m Marie Antoinette
15. Conversing with little old men en Français, making us both indescribably happy.
16. Putting together a meal that is basic yet delectable, consisting of the best ingredients (bread, cheese, meat and wine) and realizing this is all you need.
17. Exploring the City of Lights with your best friend after a two-year separation