Paris in Springtime – just another cliché?
Last year I went on my dream trip. Somewhere I had dreamed of forever… to go to Paris. I wanted to experience it all, the culture, the smells, the tastes, the sights and the sounds. Most of all I wanted all my senses to be stimulated in this beautiful city. There are probably only a handful of other days in my life such as my wedding and the birth of my child, which I will remember as intensely as that first day when I arrived in Paris. Sure, the settings and situations were different, but the feeling was the same. An overwhelming mix of joy, gratitude, relief, pride and wonder. After much planning, I had made it to Paris.
There are more clichés about Paris than there are tourists at the Louvre. You’ve heard them all, The City of Light, City of Romance, City of Love, all tired, overused expressions. But once you experience Paris, you will understand why. This city never completely reveals what makes it so charismatic. There is a je ne sais quoi, an allure and an elegance to the charms of this city that artists, writers and poets alike have tried defining. Just what it is about this place? Perhaps that is as hard to pin down as defining love itself. To be in Paris conveys the experience of love, about someone, something, some place.
Getting out and about
There is so much to do. You know the big ones. The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. But we didn’t want to miss the fun of discovering the small ones either. The ones off the beaten path. Like taking our time strolling through the uphill streets of Montmartre, stopping at a sidewalk cafe to enjoy the flakiest croissant as we slowly sip our coffee. Listening to the sounds of a Parisian tune being played on a harmonica whilst watching children play. It is these moments that made us feel comfortable, made us feel safe, in a place where we’d never been before and enabled us to experience the charm of this city.
Wandering aimlessly is romantic, so we put our map away and wandered, having no fear. After all it’s not about the map, it’s about getting out and finding our own authentic experience in a city. Discovering things that we never thought we would find.
We found Paris so easy to get around. We spent most of the time on foot. Much of what Paris has to offer can be seen within walking distance of the Métro. We stayed in Montmartre and made it to Eiffel Tower which included changing trains twice, with no problem at all. We didn’t go it alone all the time, we organised some guided tours visiting the eye-popping Eiffel Tower, the radiant basilica of Sacre Coeur and explored the opulent Palace of Versailles.
Paris has the very best restaurants, cafes, wine bars and bistros. Anything and everything has to do with food in this food capital of the world. We found fromageries with the creamiest cheeses, boulangeries with the flakiest, buttery croissants and sampled the most delicate macarons.
Now Paris is not without faults. As is the case anywhere in the world. Be it a large city or a small village, you get what you give. And in the case of Paris, as with any true love, you accept the flaws along with the charms, the weakness with the strengths. In the end we found the true beauty of Paris outshone any imperfection.
We saw why Paris remains at the heart of global culture. We discovered that life from a Parisian point of view was beautiful. But that’s another cliché, isn’t it?
Now your turn, tell us has this post inspired you for your next holiday? Please leave a comment below and let us know.