Paris, Je T'Aime
I still remember the first time I touched down in France by myself: I’d just woken up from snoozing through my red eye flight - I was twenty-one. I sat up and rubbed my eyes open just as the sun was rising, and the combination of natural beauty and the realization that I’d made it back to one of my favorite places in the world brought tears to my eyes. In a way - in a very special and rare moment you never forget - it almost felt like coming home.
I would spend the next week in France’s southeastern city of Lyon, taking pictures of everything, wandering its charmants shops and parks and cobbled streets and Vieux Lyon - smelling fresh flowers along every corner, seeing steaming fresh bread and pastries (of which I ate far too many, particularly the pain au chocolat), tipping performers playing accordions beautifully in the street, watching old men play chess at Place Bellecour - alone, but never once lonely, thanks to all the wonderful people I met.
But then there’s Paris...
En Paris, tout est possible. She is the sophisticated older woman I hope to be someday. She is chic - obviously - and unapologetically feminine. So never having experienced Europe in the brisk charm of winter, here I am, early February, rising early every morning (having practiced an early bedtime for the past month back home, like a drill sergeant, to prep for it here) to see as much of Paris nestling cozily this time of the year as I possibly can.
My favorite afternoons here have been spent perches somewhere inviting and cozy, observing the goings-on around me: fresh pastries, animated French conversation, waiters being cheeky with patrons and each other. And outside: little old ladies walking their Daschands, French Bulldogs, and Pomeranians; fashion bloggers gracing the sidewalk, sporting massive coats and funky shoes, berets, and a red lip; beeping taxis, and ringing bike bells; and stores of every variety, in the throws of sale season, with window signs announcing “SOLDES”.
All of my time here, the past five days, has been so wonderful, and a salve to my heart. I just watched the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower from my hostel terrace in my pijamas. I came here for the first time by myself, found my way through my new favorite corners and neighbourhoods, met other bloggers the world over, and will likely have more self-discovery unfolding long after I return home.
J’ suis si content. And sad to go. But if it’s this difficult to say goodbye, rest assured I’ll return sooner than another ten years.
Paris, je t’aime, et a bientot.
Solo trips like these are my medicine. And so here I find myself again, this time back in Paris, leaping into all she has to offer. On y vas. ❤