“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Years ago I questioned the fascination with this “city of lights”. After this visit I realized that what makes it special can’t be neatly described in a sentence or even a paragraph. So for those cynics out there who ask what makes Paris so special, I answer you with pictures more than words.
One of the things I liked best in Paris was just walking the neighborhoods. We would see an amazing, breath-taking building and then turn the corner and see two more! The parks and gardens are just as fun to explore… and even more fun with a little pastry and cafe latte in hand.
We visited the Tuileries Garden, which was about as “Parisian” as anything I’d imagined. Before entering the garden we stopped at Cafe Kitsune in the nearby Galeries du Palais-Royal. It was perhaps the best latte I had while in Paris, with the one from Ten Belles, a cafe near the Canal Saint-Martin, a close second.
The 1st arrondissement had its more ornate design and formal vibe, whereas the 3rd felt a little more approachable, still classic. A great example of that is this side street in the Marais neighborhood. The area was bustling and filled with young people while we were there. It made think Brooklyn is to New York what the Marais is to Paris. Certainly both are crawling with hipsters at any rate.
We spent a fair amount of time in the 8th and around the area known as the “Golden Triangle” because it was near our hotel. It was completely mind-boggling to see designer atelier and boutique after boutique. Not to mention florist shops, parfumeries, and patisseries each more gorgeous than the next.
The other thing I noticed everywhere we went, no matter the arrondissement, were the DOORS! After seeing such a variety of doors in every color, size, and style imaginable it made me wonder why do we have to be so dull about entry doors in the U.S.?
Up next, Part 3: the food, glorious food that abounds in Paris!