My last trip to Paris left me more enamored with the city than ever before. When traveling to new countries I don't often revisit places I have already been. There are so many places I want to see, and these trips don't happen every day. When they do, I try to pack in as much traveling and sightseeing as I can. Paris is different for me. I could revisit this city over and over again, and it would still feel new. During my visit this past October my friend Katie and I decided we would only see the things that were most important to us. We were trying to make a conscious effort to slow down, and enjoy each part of our trip, rather than leave ourselves exhausted as we usually do. If we got to everything on our list, great, but if not that was just as okay. I'm glad we both agreed, because I took in more of the city this time than I had during past trips.
The Simple Things
Even in the hustle of everyday life, I found that Parisians have a way of finding simple pleasures in seemingly mundane tasks. When you imagine Paris you may dream of the Champs-Élysées, couture, macaroons, St Germain, and the amazing cuisine it has to offer. All of these things do dwell within the City of Lights, but they are not what draw me there.
When I imagine Pairs, I think of two friends catching up over coffee and croissants before beginning their workday. I see waiters laughing and exchanging stories among themselves between serving their guests. I see friends, couples, new parents, and their baby, sitting in the grass eating snacks while watching the Eiffel Tower. I think of the joy on people's faces because they finally make it to the place they've dreamed of visiting.
A city is still a city. Meaning, people are rushing and moving to get to their destination leaving very little time for much else. My observations in Paris were different. People were still moving and working, but still making time to squeeze in a few of life's pleasures. I love Paris for the fact that people there seem to remember to enjoy each other. This is common theme I have seen in several countries I've visited in Europe.
My favorite memory is the train ride we took outside of the city center to The Georges Brassens Book Market that is held every Saturday. There you can find books in several languages on any topic and artwork! Which is my favorite thing to shop for when abroad. (If you've seen my walls on instastories then you know). The market is a decent size and the whole time I was there you could hear a pin drop because it wasn't crowed the day we went. Everyone was enjoying themselves browsing the rows of tables lined with books about history, fashion, and children's tales. While there I bought two pieces of art, both sketches from unknown artists. One, of a half-finished gypsy woman and the other of a solider. I remember thinking what a fantastic way to spend a Saturday, doing nothing, but browsing books, drinking coffee, and consuming carbs. C'est Magnifique!
I cannot write about my favorite memories from Paris and not talk about the food. I love food, and I like to indulge when traveling. In Paris everywhere you turn there is something delicious begging to be consumed, and I kindly oblige. Everything I ate there was fresh and simply made with a few ingredients. I did not have to go through a drive-through and have my food handed to me in a cardboard box. I watched my crepes being made and talked with the crêpier as we stood beside Notre-Dame. I could taste that my bread had been baked fresh that morning. If I wanted a snack, olives and fresh cheese were just steps away. Food culture is obviously different everywhere you go, but I appreciated the simplicity Paris provided without sacrificing taste. I also loved the simplicity of their menus. Often there were only a few options at each place, which made choosing easier. Plus, my theory is if you only have one thing to serve, well that one thing must be pretty great (you hope).
Paris offers up a new part of itself every time I go. It is easily a place I will continue to revisit and explore, along with other regions of France. The Romantic City has won this heart. However, my next stop may be Provence. Who's coming with me?