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.
Credit Jean Jullien
5 things I love about Paris
The café culture
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.
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
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.
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
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.