Through the wonders of the Internet, and a love of Paris (not forgetting other parts of France), I have been fortunate in making a new friend, someone lucky enough to live in that beautiful city. One of her recent posts was simply about the pure pleasure of not doing anything particular in Paris but just strolling, just being, just breathing it in. That is our favourite way to spend time in the City of Light. We were never in a rush to visit Notre Dame de Paris, to soar to the top of the Eiffel Tower, to risk life and limb weaving in and out of the traffic to attempt to get a great photograph of the Arc de Triomphe or pushing through the jostling crowds for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa.
From the very first moment in Paris we just wanted to slowly savour the place, to let it sink into our pores so that we would always take a bit of that moveable feast with us, and so we stroll, we sit and sip a rich dark espresso, we perhaps stroll some more, down little side streets with their promise of secret and delightful gardens, through the Marais with its wonderful shops. Or perhaps we amble along the banks of the Seine to watch the barges plough their way back and forwards, the young lovers entwined in Proust and each other, the fabulous houseboats such as the one with the old red car permanently parked on the top deck. We may then expend some energy by partaking of a perfect quiche and a pichet of house wine. And for afters? An even slower stroll, and a welcoming bench under a shady tree in the Tuileries. And then? Well, then we usually pick up something for dinner that evening and stroll – slowly, of course – back to our accommodation.
And so, instead of carrying on with a daily run-down of this, our second holiday to France, I will just share some of the images we came away with on those remaining days. I hope you enjoy, because Paris is:
|visiting Place des Vosges|
|and enjoying a great coffee|
|and seeing where great writers lived.|
|It's the Wow factor of the Hotel de Ville.|
|It's discovering those secret gardens|
|and their charming inhabitants.|
|It's the almost aching beauty|
|of the grounds of the musee de Carnavalet.|
|And then another delight|
|and then another.|
|It's insane parking practices|
|and windows that tell a story.|
|It's the arches and history|
|of the Conciergerie.|
|It's the sun shining behind Tour Saint-Jacques|
|or through the windows at|
|the Dome des Invalides|
|or a marvellously witty window.|
But mostly, Paris is not the place where we fell in love; it is the place we fell in love with.
Oh, and the friend I referred to? Do please visit her blog – it’s wonderful. She is both erudite and engaging, and I am sure that if I haven’t whet your appetite for a visit to l’hexigon she will. She is AdriainParis and you can find a link to her in the list of blogs I follow.