Paris

Paris in the Spring just sounds so whimsical, but really, I’d like to see Paris in Autumn when all the trees that line the cobblestone streets blaze in contrast to the grey sky all around. To wander around the city of love at midnight, meeting strangers with whom you take a stroll along the lock bridge, the perfect ending to a romance novel. What could possibly be better?

My experiences in this city go beyond a knowledge of location in time and space, rather it is the place I understand in my dreams. I know the local ins and outs of spending a sunday afternoon in the Jardin des Tuileries, watching father and son play with sailboats in one of the many ponds. I know the little patisserie in the side-street in Saint-Germain that has no name but that sells the best beignet chocolat’s in Pairs. And I know that the best time to see the city is by walking from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame along the Seine at night. Once you truly know a place the things you feel for it change, it is not purely a love for the city but a love for a part of myself that knows it.

Paris has changed me in so many ways, and I have grown as a person, my soul has grown, through my experiences in it.

My typical day in Paris involves waking up at 7:30, and leaving the hotel by 8am, camera in hand and book in backpack. Spending the morning exploring the Latin Quarter, dabbling in vintage clothes shops, and eating a pastry in the Victor Hugo garden square. A pleasant stroll back along the Left Bank, popping into the Shakespeare and Company store (even though overpriced the experience of standing in a room surrounded by knowledge is worth it), and getting some lunch from a monop somewhere along the way. To relax in the heat of the day in the Tuileries Gardens under a tree with my book and my Iced Chai Tea Latte from a nearby Starbucks is the ideal way to pass the hours. In the later afternoon wave of energy I’ll stroll up the Champs-Elysees to visit my favourite tea store, Kusmi, where free samples are common and a soul-fulfilling aroma is guaranteed. To end off the perfect day I’ll hop on the metro to either the Eiffel Tower or the Sacre Coeur, where I will have dinner on the lawn or the steps and enjoy the charisma of the twilight. My night will end with a casual walk back to the heart of the capital where I will go to sleep with such ease, having achieved an inner peace from my day exploring.

Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient winding medieval streets–as vast and indestructible as nature itself. All was embraced by her, by her volatile and enchanted populace thronging the galleries, the theaters, the cafes, giving birth over and over to genius and sanctity, philosophy and war, frivolity and the finest art; so it seemed that if all the world outside her were to sink into darkness, what was fine, what was beautiful, what was essential might there still come to its finest flower. Even the majestic trees that graced and sheltered her streets were attuned to her–and the waters of the Seine, contained and beautiful as they wound through her heart; so that the earth on that spot, so shaped by blood and consciousness, had ceased to be the earth and had become Paris.
— Anne Rice