It’s taken me much longer to write this Paris recap post than I expected. Unlike other places I’ve been, Paris seems almost like a friend to me now, and it’s been challenging to try to write about how I felt to be there.
It is one of the largest feeling cities I’ve ever been to, even though I’m sure it’s not actually that big. I guess mostly I just expected it to be small. I had so many clear images and snapshots in my head (markets, outside cafes, chocolate, flowers, the eiffel tower). But when I was actually inside the city, I was overwhelmed by it’s hugeness. Oh how I had underestimated the richness and grandness of this powerful place. The snapshots of an impression I had about “Paris”-the overly romanticized and oversimplified images in my head-were doing me a great injustice. Paris is a city to be lived. One to be explored. A city to get lost in and absorbed by.
Like San Francisco, each Parisian neighborhood has it’s own unique history. Each look and feel markedly distinctive. Some streets in Paris felt like they could be any street in any big city, and others so strikingly could only be Paris.
I wish I could go back and be there for all seasons-to walk each neighborhood and eat 100 more chocolate croissants. I’m sure that Paris will always have more magic to share. I can’t wait to go back.
Here are 10 of my favorites from Paris (in no particular order):
1. The amazing city-wide bike rental system-velib (apparently this is also in NYC now?). Viet and I biked around Paris for the entire week for 8 Euros each. We loved being able to just hop on a bike (there was a station right by our hotel) and make our way to any place in the city. When you’re traveling without a ceiling, it’s as if you are literally absorbing the city’s energy. I couldn’t stop smiling and soaking it all in.
2. Picnics. The picnics we had in Paris were almost as awesome as our favorite meals at restuarants. There’s nothing like eating fresh cheese, sausage, and fruit (with wine of course) with your toes in the warm grass.
3. Champagne. Drinking Champagne under the eiffel tower was #11 on my 30 Before 30 list. The champagne in Paris isn’t cheap, but it’s consistently delicious.
4. Fromage. so. much. delicious. cheese. I felt like I had died and gone to cheese heaven.
5. The sky. The Parisian sky is breathtaking. I don’t even know how to describe it. For me it was a distinctive factor in the way I felt there. I saw it blue, purple, pink, and gray, and all of them were equally beautiful. The 10:45pm Sunsets gave magical hour a whole new meaning.
6. Chocolate. Angelina’s. Croissants. I really wanted to eat one chocolate croissant a day. I didn’t quite succeed, but I wish I had. man. I have loved chocolate croissants for so long that I can’t even explain the joy I felt to be surrounded by them. delicious.
7. Fish. I don’t generally love fish. I’ve only barely been eating it consistently in the past year or so thanks to my husband. Even though a guide told us we should eat fish in months without the letter “R” (May, June, July, & August) because it isn’t as fresh, I couldn’t help it! It was so good.
8. Restaurants and -eries> fromageries, boulangeries, and all the other -eries. Fresh bread from the baker, fresh cheese from the cheese maker, fresh sausage/macarons/ice cream. I heart them. Our three favorites restaurants were:
La Cerisae– My friend Renske recommended this adorable and unassuming spot in the 6th. We ate the best meal we had in Paris there. hands down. This tiny restauarant feels like home. There are about 8 tables, and the food is shockingly delicious.
Fish (good for lunch and dinner-see my delicious chicken dish below)
Satturne (I was in love with everything about this place in addition to the meal: the light. the wine. the bread and cheese. the service. so good.)
9. Romance around every corner. It’s such a beautiful place that I think you can help but want to celebrate love there. Everywhere we looked couples were canoodling. With the backdrop of Paris, every evening felt like date night.
10. Bridges. I can see why Paris is called the city of lights, but it’s just as much a city of bridges for me. The magic and power of the city comes from connecting (and some cases dividing) neighborhoods and people and stories across the river throughout history. Every time I walked (or biked) across a bridge and Paris, I felt like I was moving through time.
Thanks so much for everyone’s support and kind words over twitter and instagram, and a huge thank you to all my amazing guest bloggers!
Next Up> The South of France.