This summer I went to Paris. It was amazing as you can imagine, and I want to tell you all about it, but I kind of don’t know where to start. It is hard to write about Paris. In my mind Paris is not so much a city, as it is a concept. Paris is the world capitol or romance and pleasure, a place where artistic creativity unfurls around every corner and food is a rich experience meant to be savored. I can’t really give you the whole Paris experience. It is too much to take in and decipher, and I am by no means that skilled as a writer. What I can do, is give you a glimpse of my experience, of some of the places I loved spending time at. While I was only there one week, I felt I did a lot...
I stayed at Hotel Au Manor, along Boulevard Saint Germain. My neighborhood was scattered with designer boutiques like APC, Tara Jarmon, and Isabel Marant Etoile. One day I came across the Celine store. I merely hovered outside in the glow of the window, knowing there was very little I could afford inside. Where we stayed was also a quick walk to the Seine and across the river loomed the Louvre in all its majestic beauty.
I was traveling with my mom and aunt who are both around retirement age. While I love to walk around any city I am in, this would be hard for all of us, so many days of the trip we took taxis. I learned to love zipping around the city in a cab, and watching important monuments like the Bastille, Musee De Orsay, or the Tullieries pass before my eyes and fade into the background. One of our first days out we made it to Sacre Couer and got to glimpse out at the beautiful city. On our second day, we went down to the Luxembourg Jardins and sat in the sun and talked about life. After that, we wander the street for a while getting lost until a friendly Parisian helped us to find the great Mosque. Ramadan was in observation, but they let us enter this beautiful sanctuary. I fell in love with the tile work and exotic plants. I felt I had been transported to a resort in Morocco (I have never actually been to Morocco, but Instagram is a powerful tool). We ended the day at the Arenes De Lutece, a beautiful amphitheater.
The baked goods in Paris were amazing, but I found myself drawn to all the fresh fruits. Many times when I was out walking, I would buy fresh figs from a Charcuterie and just eat them as I walked around. I loved to walk around the Seine at sunset and watch small groups gather sharing food and wine. Some memorable meals were a crepe at the Marché des Enfants Rouges. I had a wonderful time on a dinner cruise along the Seine, laughing with my mom and Aunt as we dodged the boat photographer who tried to take our picture.
For shopping, I like the Marais best and found many great independent boutiques on Rue Charlot. My Greek Family was a wonderful pop up featuring all Greek designers. Paper Tiger was the perfect stationary store for someone like me who loves color. I also loved pilfering through the antiques at A demain.
My favorite place by far was La Pavilion Puebla. My friend Maria invited me there for drinks on a Saturday night. This bar was tucked away in Parc des Buttes Chaumont, upon a hill overlooking the park’s trail. As I walked up the stone steps to the bar, I felt I had found that secret hip French hideaway that no American tourist ever stumbles upon. There was string light hanging from the trees, and Parisians gathered at tiny tables, smoking and talking as their Rosé glasses caught the glint of the fading sun. Inside was decorated with old Moroccan furniture, which had been worn in with time. There was a dance floor and a bar where you could order fresh pizza. We spent the night overlooking the Park meeting new friends and trying new pizzas.
Before I knew it 8 days was up, and I was on a plane back to Philadelphia. It was a short trip but incredibly refreshing. While I cannot put it into words, I felt I got a better understanding of Parisians and who they were. I know it will take much longer to understand what gives the French that je ne sais quoi but I thought I got a nice glimpse. I think of Paris fondly and can't wait to return again someday soon.