There were many reasons I went to Paris. I never knew my brief weekend in the world’s most romantic city was going to leave such a lasting impression. I went with a light heart and expected nothing more than a good meal, a few pretty Instagram posts and a cheesy picture of the Eiffel Tower. I actually left with a full heart, and stomach, and soul. Here’s why.
The food is amazing
All of it. I arrived expecting delicious meals in family-run bistros. I did not expect even a 3 am crepe bought on the side of the road would be so incredible. It is not just the famous chefs, but the youngest Parisians that appreciate great food. Buy a warm croissant straight from the bakery. Drink freshly-brewed coffee on a streetside café. Eat a gooey croque-monsieur in the cool ambience of the 13th arrondissement. Paris is an assault on the senses.
It was so easy to step outside everyday life
I took a cheap flight from a London airport. Then a Paris airport transfer. For less than £100 in total, and under an hour in the air, I was far away from the stresses of the boss and the office. England and France may be neighbours but the lifestyle is very different. I arrived and breathed out the stress of life. Paris is a microcosm of everything that I love – food, culture, laughter and life.
I fell in love
There is no fairytale romance to this tale. I did not meet the man that I would spend the rest of my life with – but I felt like I could of. I sat by the Seine and watched the couples, young and old, married or furtive – Paris’ language of love speaks to everyone. It’s everywhere – in the delicate architecture, the swirl of a pastry or the manicured corners of its beautiful parks.
My soul soaked up the culture
One of the things I found surprising in my trip was just how big the Louvre art gallery was. And how, by comparison, the Mona Lisa jewel in her crown was so small. Cameras and tourists clutching guide books utterly surrounded her. I never got to stare in her enigmatic eyes. Instead, I wandered the halls for the smaller treasures and it was wondrous. Next time I would go straight to the impressionist displays of the Musée d’Orsay. It is just across the river and much more relaxed.
I learned the value of a scarf
French ladies have a je ne sais quoi about their look. Their ensembles are effortlessly stylish and always immaculately put together. I spent hours watching people go by and I learned the simple scarf is key to their inherent glamour. I bought several, in plain colours but beautiful fabrics, and have been trying to get the chic look right ever since. It’s never quite enough though. I think it’s in the blood.
If you have the time and cash to take a short European city break then Paris has to be your first-choice, at least once. I took so much from my visit. I wonder what you would learn?