I Heart Paris

This is a hard post to write. I’m not sure how to begin, or end. I’m not really sure about the bit in the middle either.

So I suppose I’ll just start writing and see how it goes.

I was staying in Paris this last weekend, and was horrified and hugely saddened by the events that unfolded. Despite the fact I was in the city when it all happened, I feel like an imposter. I don’t live here and I don’t know any of the victims so it seems almost inappropriate for me to throw in my two cents. Also, there’s nothing really I can say that hasn’t been said better by someone else. So what I’m going to do instead is write about why I love Paris. It’s my form of tribute to a city that’s hurting.

CreditJeanJullien

Credit Jean Jullien

5 things I love about Paris

The café culture

1acafeculture

Place Saint-Augustin

I love the chairs sat outside, especially the chairs in pairs facing the street. It’s all set up for people watching over a glass of wine, and it’s brilliant. I loved walking around the city on Sunday, seeing people catching up with their loved ones and soaking up the last rays of sun.

The architecture

1Parisarchitecture

Quai des Orfèvres

I won’t be the first to remark on this and I certainly won’t be the last. Paris is just beautiful. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you turn a corner and it takes your breath away again. There’s not much more I can say than that.

The old shops and boutiques

2Boutiques

Passage des Panoramas

Here in the UK, most high streets look the same. We have the same 10 shops on repeat, just in a slightly different order. It does get a little dull. In Paris, there are so many individual boutiques, and they’re not all stupidly expensive either. If you have a niche interest, chances are you’ll find a shop here that caters exactly to your whim. In this arcade alone there’s a heraldry shop, an antique photo shop, and a stuffed wolf with eagle wings wearing a diamond necklace (!). And then there are the beautiful old shops, with original windows and ancient looking door handles. They’re so pretty.

Slow Sundays

5Sundays

Square Gabriel Pierné

A lot of shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays, and there is generally a noticeable slow down in the pace of life. I like the focus on work-life balance that exists here, and whilst I found the Sunday hours frustrating at first, I’m now glad that they force you to take a break and enjoy the city at a slower pace. I’ve certainly done more walking, reading and resting than I’ve done for a long time in the UK and that can’t be a bad thing.

You’re never far from a steak or a cake

6cakes

All gluten free! Thanks to Helmut Newcake

Two of my favourite things. I know it’s an overused stereotype that the French like their food, but it’s true. And I love it. It’s great to be able to set off in any direction around the city and know you will find excellent food wherever you go. And it’s more than just the food; it’s the ritual of a meal that is held in high regard here.

I hope this doesn’t come across as flippant… that’s not at all how I mean it. I want to acknowledge and affirm the way of life that exists in the city when it’s under attack, because I believe the city and it’s people are beautiful. I pray for healing for all. Paris, je t’aime.

4freedom

-Rachel

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18 Comments

    • 17th November 2015 / 09:08

      I feel like nothing I write could really do it justice, but I’m glad you like my attempt!

  1. 16th November 2015 / 21:00

    I can’t even imagine being anywhere when something so scary and tragic happens! I’ve never been to Paris, but it sounds like such a wonderful city to visit. I’m glad that you’re safe!

    • 17th November 2015 / 09:11

      It was awful, very surreal. And I don’t really think I’m qualified to even say I truly experienced it, as like I said I’m not a resident or anything. I just feel awful for those whose safe places have been taken away and/or who have lost loved ones.

  2. Jen
    16th November 2015 / 21:05

    So glad you are safe, it’s such a devastating situation.

    • 17th November 2015 / 09:11

      I know, I just don’t know how to even begin to understand it. And then to think about those for whom this is a daily reality… Heartbreaking.

    • 17th November 2015 / 09:11

      I’m glad too! But still very sad 🙁

  3. Penny Mills
    17th November 2015 / 00:10

    I was also in Paris at the time of the attacks and I know what you mean about feeling like an imposter. People keep asking if I’m ok and what happened and I just think it’s not about me. I may have left Paris, but my thoughts remain there with everyone suffering.

    • 17th November 2015 / 09:13

      Phew, I’m glad you’re safe too Penny. You’re so right – it’s not about me. A journalist contacted me for an interview and I refused. It’s not my story; I didn’t go through even a fraction of what actual Parisians went through that night.

  4. Kerri Taylor
    17th November 2015 / 14:11

    this post is simply perfect. everyone has their own way of taking in this moment. handling. moving forward. coping. all of the above. i love this beautiful list – and it makes me want to visit even that much more!

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 4th December 2015 / 05:13

      You’re right, we all deal in different ways. I love Paris, and I do hope you get to visit someday. It’s definitely a special city 🙂

  5. 17th November 2015 / 15:54

    Beautiful post. I love that you have chosen to celebrate the city with these lovely words.

    • 4th December 2015 / 05:14

      I’m glad you liked it. I wanted to input something positive onto what has been an all round horrific episode.

  6. 24th November 2015 / 17:50

    beautifully written girl. not flippant at all. i am so sorry you were there, thank goodness you are okay.

    • 4th December 2015 / 05:14

      I’m really very lucky, but I feel so sad for those who aren’t ok. It’s the personal tragedy that’s the hardest to deal with.

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