Last year I fell in love with this one place so deeply, that I ended up saying no to visiting new cities just so I could go back. You might think it’s a cliché but for me, it’s the greatest, most beautiful place in the world. Paris has all my heart now. And I don’t want this to change.
Of course, London is still very dear to me, I still live here and love it. But Paris is something different. The first time I went was last May. It was a trip I planned with my best friend as our big Christmas present from our parents, and we were both insanely excited and happy to discover the magic of the French capital together. And let me tell you, it was brilliant! We obviously did all the cheesy tourist stuff – went to see the Mona Lisa, took the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, had a stroll down the Champs Elysees and ended up at L’arc de Triomphe, visited Versailles and all that. And it was beautiful and fun and full of people from around the world. Which to be honest isn’t my favourite thing. Because when you live in a city like London you start do dislike all kinds of tourists. And the times you are one yourself feel weird. At least for me.
After this, it was time for us to feel the real tourist-free, Parisian Paris. I found this place called Canal Saint Martin, where French people apparently like to gather, especially in warm summer afternoons and nights, sit by the water, have a drink (bought from the numerous supermarkets around) and just chat, relax and enjoy life. Well, when we found the canal, it looked nothing like the place I had read about. Well, I know it was not a hot summer evening and 5 minutes after we arrived it started to rain, but come on – there was not a single person out on the street. So we went to “La Marine” got a bottle of rosé and just pretended we are Parisians (speaking a foreign language).
Later on, when I returned to Paris in June, the area around Canal Saint Martin seemed to have come to life – it was busy, everyone seemed to be out and about, there was no space to sit down by the water on the weekend, the cute artsy shops, small restaurants and the amazing bakery at the end of Rue Beaurepaire were full of people. It was beautiful.
La Tour Eiffel though is one of the symbols of this city, so we can’t not talk about it. I had obviously seen it several times during my first visit to Paris, but I had missed to see it with the lights on. So on my last night of this second trip, we ended up driving around the city so that I could see it in all its glory. And we randomly found this awesome rooftop bar which had the best view of the city of lights. What a better way to finish the perfect long weekend?
The last time I went was in October, and surprisingly it was quite warm and not so surprisingly – pretty as always. I was with some friends who had only been there for a day or so, and they wanted to visit those crowded places which I prefer staying away from, so I had a little bit of time for myself while they were being tourists. And so, I went to see the Andy Warhol exhibition in the Musee d’art moderne and then walked down Avenue de Montaigne, which I absolutely adore – it is so different than the hipster area of the 10th arrondissement, full of beautiful luxurious boutiques, swanky hotels and those restaurants we see in the films.
Another place I love in the capital is Le Marais. It is the best area in the world – combining fancy boutiques, hipster pop-ups, bars, restaurants, cafés, galleries and endless streets to wander around and just feel happy. I found myself visiting a few exhibitions, and the one I loved the most was at the Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt. It was Robert Montgomery’s “Chapter 6”. He is a Scottish poet and artist, whose work I’ve come to really like after randomly ending up at his exhibition on a late afternoon in Paris.
Then I just walked around some more, found my way to the Seine and, with my favourite songs as a soundtrack, I enjoyed a beautiful sunset in the city of love.
It is my happy place. It is where I get that little warm feeling inside. Yes, French people don’t like to speak English, but if you smile, say “bonjour” and then ask your question in English they will respond in a positive manner. Yes, the metro smells a little and some people say it’s complicated (which I don’t understand tbh) and the London Tube is better, Paris is the greatest place in the world and I can’t wait to be back.