Paris. The City of Lights and Love. I have always wondered what it would be like roaming the streets of Paris – its neighborhood cafes, the grandiose bridge ways, the dreamy white architecture, the café fashion, the subtle and intriguing stories of spectators, the romance of it all.
Seeing Paris for the fist time was overwhelming. Yes, I was awestruck with the beauty and like any other dream, you’re a little stuck for a few minutes – getting your bearings, pinching yourself a little bit. At the same time, the energy (and the romance of it all) was pulling me towards several directions all at once.
What to do in 72 hours, with a good amount time dedicated to experiencing what it’s like to sit in a Parisian café with a café au lait in one hand, a pen journaling in the other, and La Vie En Rose secretly playing in the background? Paris, how is it to just sit and take you in? See. Quite overwhelming.
Yet Paris has a way of making things possible for some reason. Here we were running what was like a 72-hour-marathon across this golden city, trying to catch our breath as we saw the sights that would line up the movie screens and lend beautiful backdrops to favorite novels. I was surprised. I was riveted. Everything was just beautiful. I was snapping away with my camera, hoping that my eye could do justice to what I was experiencing.
While Paris may lend you glorious scenery in your imagination, nothing beats seeing it for the first time. When I went through the photos I took, I realized that it was all different perspectives of Paris in my mind. It was like my own black and white film, only better – since the story was entirely up to me. Me wondering how many stolen kisses and heartbreaks its walls have seen; how many political plots were devised and negotiated which its buildings kept secret; how many plays and songs and poetry were conceived in one of its many cafes or wine bars; how many paintings were started and finished in a little attic overlooking the Seine; how many verses and dreams have been written in this city? Countless.
Two dreamy scenes from our Paris leg still take me back. One was our first meal in Paris. We had just gotten in and still floaty from the long journey, yet very hungry for food and Paris. So we walked around and “scoped out” the neighborhood. We turned a corner and saw a nice little restaurant with bougainvillea lining up its outdoor seating area. It looked cozy and inviting enough despite the lack of “scenery” since the street was just lined up with cars. We didn’t know what to expect from the menu but there it was – beef bourguignon as today’s special and how could you ever say no to that? It was paired with a delicious bottle of 2014 Fleurie – a recommendation from our friendly beef bourguignon-enabler. It stood out to me not just because the food was delicious. It was because the family was together, over a hearty meal. It was a great way to start the trip with endless lists of what to see; yet also trying to catch up on stories we’ve missed due to busy schedules while preparing for the trip. It was a good omen – a first great meal always lends to a great trip ahead.
The second favorite scene was seeing the Louvre for the first time. We were crossing Pont des Arts (the famous lovelocks bridge) when my brother pointed to an “important looking” building right across. He said he wished he knew what building it was. We were joking around on how to find out when I happened to glance to the side and spied a small sign that said “Musee du Louvre Antiquites.” We half hopped, half ran to the courtyard. And it was nothing like I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the usual scene of the famous glass pyramids with the museum in the background. It was the old courtyard, grand and as marvelous in the sunlight. I can just imagine how artists and geniuses walked through that expanse to share art and stories. And it was a place no one was snapping photos of. Except us. We just had to sit on the fountain and take in the splendor.
Stumbling upon places is one of my favorite things in the world. And it was at that time that I really did realize that I was in Paris. No pinching needed.
PS: April’s Paris was on repeat while writing this piece. Have a little piece of Paris and listen to the song 🙂