Paris je t’aime!
Not everyone can say they have touched the sands of D-Day beaches, marveled at the sight of Mont St. Michel, or been awestruck by the castles of the Loire Valley. Pico Iyer once wrote, “if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” France, especially Paris, the City of Lights can become your next love affair.
Fall in love with Paris, just by wandering the streets. Pass the cream-colored limestone buildings with their unique hand carved moldings and large, distinctively colored front doors. The buildings have tall floor-to-ceiling windows with Collectic iron railings on their mini balconies.
You’ll find Pâtissiers (confectioners) on every rue (street), their windows decorated with freshly made desserts, berry tarts, colorful macarons, white divinity cookies, apple tarts, and of course, chocolate cake. Pass cars stuck in traffic, men and women riding bicycles leisurely bypassing the stopped cars, and men in black business suits rushing by.
Paris, famous for their musées (museums) showing off some of the world’s best creative works, can inspire you to become something more. Musée d’Orsay is a former train station turned into an art museum. Where the trains used to wait as passengers boarded, there is now an open area where sculptures are on display. Rooms then branch out by subject.
The best view is from the opposite end of the entrance, on the second floor looking onto the sculptures all the way down from the intricate clock. The window ceilings allow the sunny day to shine in to illuminate the works of art. Visit their Edinburgh Café, where you step back into the time of royal France. The towering walls are cream and lined with gold borders while the windows are just as tall.
When in Paris, eat like a Parisian.
Le Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris, has hosted some of history’s greatest, including Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. The walls are an alluring, dark, textured cream with gold framing. Many old portraits are hung in fancy carved golden frames with lights centered on them just perfectly. A bust of Benjamin Franklin is prominently displayed on a single carved bracket. In a room on the first floor near the window to outside, Napoleon Bonaparte’s legendary hat is proudly displayed. The chicken falls so smoothly off the bone of the Coq au Vin in a dark red wine sauce.
Dine at the Julien, an art nouveau brasserie (bistro). The inside walls are painted in gold and feature stained glassed windows of women of the 1920’s. The ceiling is molded in gold carvings of ribbon and large flowers, with stained glassed windows of large multicolored flowers. Try the sea scallops on a bed of rice topped with thick shreds of parmesan cheese.
You cannot go to Paris without having a warm, flaky, made-with-butter croissant that is as big as a dessert plate along with a cup of coffee. If you don’t go for the tea or thick hot chocolate at Angelina’s, try the fromage (cheese) plate and the tarte façon tatin, a small pastry crust topped with caramelized apples and a powdered sugar crumble.
One cannot go to Paris and skip dessert. One place that I highly recommend is L’eclair de Génie, a shop just large enough for the long row of eclairs with an assortment of flavors to pick from. The colors are vibrant and glossy while some even have a sparkle. The flavors are just as delightful, with the creamy center and glaze on top.
La Tour Eiffel
The park of the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) changes with the season. In the fall, the reflection of the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the puddles of water on the sandy pebbled pathways, dotted with the sprinkles of fallen autumn leaves. The grass of Champ de Mars park stays full of bright green grass while the surrounding trees are shimmers of gold.
It is the perfect place to find a bench and people watch. No one is unhappy as they stroll along with their baguette. Close your eyes, and remember all of the sights, smells, and tastes of Paris. You’ll be inspired by Pico Iyer quote, “if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed,” to return for your next adventure.
Written by Amber Schwartzkopf, Personal Travel Advisor