Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why I Miss Paris


Poor Paris.

Despite spending 6 months there during my year abroad, I've pretty much neglected all mention of Paris on the blog.

And whilst it wasn't exactly love at first sight, nor even a slow burner, I still enjoyed my time there - bar traumatising public transport incidents. Sure, I would have enjoyed it more with a little bit more mullah but it is still a fantastic city with an inexhaustible list of things of things to see, do and most importantly, EAT.

The cravings to return are back with a vengeance and barring exceptional circumstances, I should hopefully make a cheeky trip there before the end of the year (fingers and toes and everything crossed). But, in the meantime, I shall have to make do with looking at  photos, watching old school Hollywood movies and getting all nostalgic.

Anyhoo, why I miss the beautiful city that is Paris:

Le Marais on Sundays


Falafel, not the prettiest but it sure is tasty.

I could quite happily spend every Sunday in Le Marais (although preferably with a run around Bois de Boulogne or Parc aux Buttes-Chaumont first). Firstly, it is one of the only places to have much happening on a Sunday and Paris-wise, it has it all. As it's both the gay and Jewish neighbourhood, there's no place quite like it elsewhere in Paris, it has great window shopping, allows you to have a walk through history and you can grab a falafel for about €6. My advice? Skip the queues for L'As du Falafel (I know, sacrilege) and head to Falafel King, which I think is just as good, if not better. Sweet-talk the vendor to give you more aubergine and spice fiends, ask for loads of chilli sauce. Divine.

Park life on the weekend

I've already briefly mentioned it but the perfect reprieve to city life without leaving Paris is by heading to one of the many parks. My personal favourites are Bois de Boulogne and Parc aux Buttes-Chaumont and it was pretty rare to pass a weekend in Paris without going to one. It is the ideal place to people-watch, if you're a nosy so-and-so like me, there are loads of cute dogs that you will have to control yourself from going up to and ruffling up their hair (just me?) and you can walk, run, bike, chill, the whole shebang. Again, it's a pretty cheap activity too, so that's always a plus in my book.

Two words: Happy. Hour.

I know it sounds fairly middle-of-the-road but when money is tight and sometimes, just, sometimes Parisian life gets a bit much, happy hour is the time that everyone counts down the hours for. It gets you through work, you have the chance to vent all your frustrations onto other people and you get to partake in one of the best bits about Paris. The bar culture. Now, I confess that I'm not big on Paris' party scene (too many posers and way too expensive) but what I loved was going to bars, having a few bevvies, a cheeky apéro and actually socialising. Heated patios are everywhere too, so you can sit outside year-round and participate in even more people-watching. Grand.

Seeing sights like this on a daily basis



You are walking in a film set every day. And even if you've been there for a while, you still pinch yourself. The thing about Paris is that it's not all bog-standard, chocolate box pretty, it has imperfections, it has its dingy corners and not-so nice bits, I suppose you could analogise it as the boy you know is bad news, he knows he's got it, is a massive player but regardless, you still like him anyway. But who can blame you, when you see that everyday?

Bakeries

The smell is enough to entice you in: freshly baked baguettes, light, buttery, flaky croissants, QUICHES, pain au chocolat aux amandes - it settles the almond croissant vs pain au chocolat debate by PUTTING THE TWO TOGETHER. I could go on. But did I mention that bakeries are a haven for cheap eats that are ridiculously tasty too? It was the light at the end of (literal) tunnel when I would return home from work, leave the metro and be greeted with the beautiful lighting and scents of the bakery.

The brutal bluntness (at times)

I must like making life hard for myself but at times I do wish people would take a note out of Parisians' books and just come out with it rather than the inherent passive-aggressiveness we seem to have in Britain. Whilst at times it was a bit much and I would have preferred the softly-softly approach, the bluntness a lot of Parisians seem to inherit was refreshing.

The beauty of simplicity

This stereotype holds true - in Paris, being cool is effortless. Or at least, it should look like it didn't take any effort. I forever developed girl crushes on the metro, on the street, everywhere. Parisians work with what they got, they embrace their freckles, curly hair or pale skin and they look fantastic.

The walkability

In comparison to London, Paris is tiny and therefore, easy to get about on foot. If possible, I like avoiding public transport and especially in a city like Paris, you never know what you're going to find around the next corner.

Paris at night



It's not called La Ville Lumière for nothing. Paris comes into its own when the sun sets and you realise why people romanticise it so much. Indulge in the best light show of all by heading to the Eiffel Tower on the hour and it's quite a sight to be seen. The above image was taken on my last night in Paris, being quite a fitting farewell.

As much as I'm resistant to confess that I actually do like Paris, I think this is me being stubborn and not wanting to admit I'm wrong more than anything else, Paris has a certain magnetism that pulls me to come back again and again. It's never going to be a full-on love relationship but to be honest, considering most Parisians seem to always complain about Paris, yet never leave, maybe I'm just adopting a Parisian approach to showing my appreciation.

So now the floor is yours, what do you miss about Paris? Do you have a love/hate relationship with it like me?

3 comments:

  1. I had pastry withdrawals after only 10 days in Paris last year! One of my favorite things was walking to the bakery in the early morning to pick out (er, point out, as is was with my rudimentary French) warm pastries. Almond croissants, flaky apple puff pastry, pain au chocolat and butter croissants were DIVINE and way better than their counterparts in Madrid. With this one thing alone I'd miss Paris!

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  2. I was seriously considering just doing it about all the pastries I missed but that can be another post (or two). But hey, I wouldn't mind churros and all the tapas either, I'm not fussed!

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  3. So, so true. Was finally back the weekend before last and you realise how much you take for granted. If I have a bit more money I would definitely make a return to Paris for sure!

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