Some people dream of visiting Paris, some get a chance to see Paris, some of us think they belong in Paris and some of us just want to check the bucket list by going to Paris. I always thought I was the last category, the ones who can say ‘Yes, I’ve seen Paris, yes its beautiful, my God! Mona Lisa is divine’ and check the ;I’ve seen Paris before I die’ on my list. I thought this before I met Paris.
Paris is not a city. Paris is not just the Eiffel Tower or the Lourve. Paris is a lover. Rightfully called the most romantic city in the world, Paris is like the mysterious man who you think you know but can never really understand. The more you see, the more you want to keep going.
And when in Paris, stop thinking and start feeling.
So what did I do in Paris that no one else visiting does?
Did I see the Eiffel Tower? Yes
Lourve? All of it
Arc de Triomph? Champs Elysees, Siene? yes, yes and yes
But the difference lies not in what you see but how you see it.
First of all I suggest you do not over spend on a hotel on the Champs Elysees or near the Eiffel. Rather you live in the home of a Parisian as a guest or you rent an apartment. No matter where you are in Paris you are close to everywhere in Paris.
Second, unless you are in Paris to create an enviable facebook album, chuck those high fashion heels and start walking. Walk in Paris (not just while shopping), look at the tables set at the roadside cafes (all facing the road for some reason) the local bars where Parisians meet for a drink after work, will show you so much more than you will see hoping on and off a subway.
Drive around Paris in a taxi at night. And if you are with your special someone, end the taxi ride at Montmartre. If you see Paris at night in a taxi, I can bet you will come back to Paris just to feel the awe it inspires.
Get in line at Laduree to taste an Orange Blossom flavoured macaroon. No matter how long it takes, keep standing…
Get upon the Arch de Triomph, close your eyes, take a deep breath and when you open just look at the rooftops of Paris and make up your own stories about people you have never met who have lived there year upon year day in day out. Their loves, their lives, their struggles. That is how hard these rooftops can strike your fancy.
Eat where the locals eat. And no one makes a better creme brulee than the French. Coffee however is another story.
Talk to the Parisians. Contrary to popular belief, they are quite warm and understand English
Sit on a bench and do nothing at all. Just blink, breath, smile, repeat.
No matter how many of your friends tell you Louvre is a waste of time, don’t listen and find out for yourself.
Take a guide when you go visit the mighty Eiffel. Its not just a fascinating piece of architecture, its the life, struggle and genius of a man and the story is worth listening to (make sure the guide is not an English speaking Chinese, in which case just jump in the Seine)
Visit the Latin Quarter and when the bells toll atop the Notre Dame Cathedral, thank the Divine Power, or whatever you believe in that you met Paris.