Audrey Hepburn once said that “Paris is always a good idea” and she’s right. Paris is a magical city with lots to see, take in, discover and experience. I have been to Paris five times and every time I came home with different memories, having experienced different aspects of Parisian life and its lifestyle. Tonight I want to take you on a journey and lose you in the reverie of what Paris holds. I hope you enjoy the trip.
The city and architecture
The first time I visited Paris I was 16. My father took me for a one week trip into the city of my dreams. Or was it? We arrived by car and on our way into the inner city, we had to drive through the Parisian “banlieues” (suburbs). The sight was awful and not glamorous at all. Lots of grey concrete apartment blocks, no green, no design, no charm, no hope. I was ready to turn around as I didn’t want to give up my imagined picture of what Paris would be and feel like. Thank goodness we drove on and I got to experience this magical city! Here are some of my favourite spots in Paris.
Images and image sources from top left to bottom right: view from the roof of Nôtre Dame, summer fair in the Jardin de Tuilerie, the Louvre with its famous glass pyramid. Montmartre with view of Sacre Coeur and the business and shopping district La Defense.
The fashion and style
The first things that come to mind when thinking of Paris have to be fashion and style. While there are just as many “normal” people living in Paris and frequenting its streets, you are sure to notice plenty who are dressed beautifully. I found it “difficult” not to dress ‘Parisian style’ when I lived in the city in 2000. There are so many stores, markets and shopping centres packed with stunning clothes and famous flea markets with styles as great as the bargains.
Images and image sources from top left to bottom right: Fashionistas on their way to a fashion show, Rue Saint Honoré is a famous shopping strip, the roof of Galeries Lafayette, Viktor & Rolf‘s A/W 2017 Haute Couture show, one of the many Marchés aux Puces (flea markets) and Les Halles (market and shopping centre).
Savoir Vivre means “knowledge of life”, and the French really seem to know. Paris is so much more than architecture and fashion. Everything is about culture, cafes and the moment when life is over.
Have you seen or ever sat in a French bistro where most of the tables are outside in front of the cafe and with the chairs facing the street rather than each other? For me, that symbolises the French way of life. It is about seeing and being seen. It is about a buttery croissant dipped into a nice big bowl of Cafe au Lait (flat white). About indulging in the arts and living life to the fullest until it is over. And even when that moment comes, Paris has an answer. Love you, you beautiful, elegant and sometimes gloomy city.
Image sources from top left to bottom right: exclusive restaurant Le Train Bleu, the Parisian Picasso museum, my personal favourite, cafe Les Deux Magot at Saint Germain-des-Prés, famous cemetery Père Lachaise where amongst thousands of others, you’ll find the graves of Frédéric Chopin, Molière, Camille Pissarro, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wild and Jim Morrison. Close up from the Catacombs of Paris and the famous art centre and museum Centre Pompidou.