For better or worse, fashion month has come to a grandiôse close in Paris, a city which has always had a special place in my heart. For this specific reason, I try to go back at least once a year, and it’s no surprise that I always feel at home. As Ernest Hemingway eloquently put it,
“There are only two places in the world where one can live happily: at home and in Paris.”
En route to the Louvre, to admire some beauté extraordinaire.
The usual museum highlights, and the usual crowd around the Mona Lisa. Personally I find the painting of a wedding feast directly opposite the Mona Lisa to be much more fascinating … and grandiôse:
My favourite part of the Louvre, and also sadly the one that has been most neglected by tourist cameras, is the stunning interior of the Louvre itself, as well as that of Napoleon III’s apartments.
I find that I always enjoy walking down the Champs-Élysées more under the moonlight. When it gets dark, all the stores light up and invite you to explore the flashiest, shiniest goods they have on offer. I especially enjoy the motor dealerships, as they put their best wheel forward (get it?) and display some wicked concept cars, or a sexy retro automobile.
The sun rose, and we rose with it (okay, I exaggerate slightly). Anyway, we got up very early to try and beat the queue, but the Notre-Dame proved as popular as ever, even at 9am. If you want to catch a great view from its towers, I’d advise getting tickets in advance if possible, otherwise you’re looking at an hour’s wait (you can put a positive spin on it by enjoying a crêpe from the café just around the corner while queuing). We had the crêpe, but gave the queue a miss, and enjoyed the views in and around the Cathedral, which were just as great.
We then continued our walk in the sun towards the Latin quarter, another favourite area of mine. We dropped by the Panthéon to see the fancy pendulum clock (I am yet to read about the mechanism behind this, its accuracy blows my mind every time).
Then of course, it was time for lunch. We went straight into Le Comptoir du Panthéon, a nice little bistro on Rue Soufflot, where they serve the most exquisite carpaccio. Ask for a side of ratatouille, it’s incredibly moreish.
We made our way back through Les jardins du Luxembourg, also known as heaven on Earth.
^ Moi, in my bardot top and french-stripe skirt, prancing around the sun-drenched gardens. The very definition of joie de vivre!
The lovely sunshine was perfectly complemented by a free classical performance, followed by a playful interpretation of a tune, which I eventually recognised as ‘The Bare Necessities’ from Mowgli. How could anybody not love Paris?
I had lasted long enough (a whole day and a half!) before I bought my first (but not last) lovely pastel-coloured pieces of happiness (okay, macaroons).
I also made friends with this cute French couple whilst picking the perfect beret to complete my themed attire for the Festival of wine hosted right atop Montmartre.
Right, prepare to have your mind blown by the next one. This guy spent at least 10 minutes doing keepie uppies, the last few minutes of which were coupled with a fairly impressive acrobatic performance on a lamp post. He didn’t drop the ball once. POW!
We somehow managed to peel our eyes off him, but only because we knew the view from the top of the Sacré-Cœur basilica was really going to be worth it, especially at sunset.
And now for my most favourite place in Paris, the old artists’ quarter. Although it’s rather modern and commercial nowadays, if you’ve ever watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, your imagination will do the rest. The tiny, yet packed cafés, the fairy lights in the trees, the cobbled streets … it is all just perfect.
Just looking at all this merry-making, our stomachs began to rumble. We ventured into Chez La Mère Catherine, a pretty central, yet still fairly low-priced restaurant.
I had an excellent goat’s cheese salad, and a salad only, to make up for feeling slightly ashamed, but very happy nonetheless, about the excessive amounts of vin rouge that we ordered by the bottle. However, I know for a fact that the French onion soup was the thickest one I’ve seen so far, so I’d recommend you try it if you get a chance.
We simply had to do our bit to support the tourist craze raging all around us, so we hit the souvenir shops straight after. I found some creatively packaged tea and herbs, and absolutely lost it (translation: bought unnecessary amounts).
On the next morning, we headed out with high hopes to the Notre-Dame to try our luck again, but apparently climbing the towers just wasn’t going to be possible on this occasion. We decided to have a look through the flower market just down the road, and passed by the Conciergerie, which looks amazing for a former prison, and the even more amazing Sainte-Chapelle, which prides itself on its brilliant stained-glass windows and impressive woodwork panels.
What a nice segway to the modern version of the Sainte-Chapelle. This beauty of a building is none other but the Galleries Lafayette, the most exclusive department store in Paris. Even if you can’t afford to buy any of the clothes and accessories, it’s worth paying it a visit just to admire the interior. And buy a macaroon or two from La Durée. At least that’s how I make myself feel better.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. We headed to the last area on our itinerary in search for some more breathtaking views to conclude our trip on a high note.
Can you guess which iconic vantage point these delightful panoramic shots were taken from? Eiffel you should know!