I love Paris, and every quintessential Parisian cliché there is…warm baguettes, brie, Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Musee de’Orsay, croissants…the list goes on.
…But the thing I think I love most about Paris is getting lost in the little back streets, hidden promenades & gardens. I went to Paris by myself in April of 2012 to get away from my life at the time (cut to the scene in “The Sound of Music” where the Reverend Mother tells Maria something like “you can’t run away from your problems, you must face them!”). I just needed to get quiet, read our book club choice, “The Paris Wife”, continue my new-found love of journaling and really get away. Some thought I was crazy, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best things I did for myself at the time.
I wandered the streets endlessly, sometimes leaving my apartment at 10 a.m. and not returning until 10 at night. I was alone with my thoughts and I walked & walked & walked…and it was Heaven. It’s an incredible walking city, much like New York City or San Francisco. If you take the metro/subways or taxis you miss out on quintessential Paris. Walk along the promenade on the Seine!
Let’s dispel a myth, shall we…the French are not rude (in my humble opinion!). I found the Parisian people to be lovely & warm. The important thing is to make an effort to at least say “Bonjour!” (You gotta get that lilt in your voice just right). Whether you’re walking into a store or restaurant it is expected that you greet the shopkeeper or host. Sure, they may start speaking to you in French, but a simple, sheepish “Parlez-vous Anglais” and they’ll probably graciously switch over to English if they are able. Bonjour!…I don’t think that’s too much to ask…do you?
But, I digress….back to Paris! Relax in the endless cafes and people watch. The Parisians will let you linger for hours. Read and meditate in the Tuileries. Take a cooking class on the Seine at La Cuisine Paris. See the winged victory at The Louvre. Get a hot chocolate at Les Deux Magots. Check out the charming Ile St. Louis across from Notre Dame. …and make the trip out to Versailles…it’s memorable!
But always leave a little time to get lost in the beauty & charm of the back streets of Paris…you’ll be so glad you did!
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!