An Ode to Paris

What is your favourite city in the world? And why is it really your favourite city?

For me, it is Paris yet everytime I sit down to write about Paris I just don’t know how to explain this city. I struggle to find the right words and right combination of words. I can’t even pinpoint what exactly I like about Paris as it’s not just one physical building or area.

To put it even more abstractly, it moves my soul.

I think it’s the culture that I like. But as an outsider, can I truly understand what the French (or Parisian) culture is? Perhaps it’s what I think the culture is or what the culture that is presented to the rest of the world is. Or is it some sort of obession for my inner Francophile?

It’s the accessibility of second hand bookstores and the Bouquinistes that line the Seine with their classic parisian prints and old books.
A hommage to what once was yet still is.

And all this, is expressed on every street and every turn. This external placing is almost as if it’s to stimulate the inner life and inner thought.

Maybe it’s knowing great artists of every kind once walked these cobbly streets and sat in these same cafes looking out to the world passing by. The journeys and stories that travel in the expansive tunnels under this city and on the streets.

Maybe it’s also the relationship to food. Enjoyment in the time it takes to create food- the longer the better. All the al fresco dining and how busy every cafe always seems to be at any time of the day. Humans simply enjoying the day. It’s enjoyment.

Enjoyment of food, time and the arts.

It is time and connection. A melange of past, present and future all co-existing ironically and purposefully. Remembering and keeping the arts alive like perhaps it is needed in all the blood that runs through us today.

It’s the symmetrical apartments with their red flowers tumbling over the iron railings from the tiny balconies. Lines that lead the eyes on a building, towards a building and across town. It’s the little architectural blemishes on lamp posts, doors and bridges. The attention to detail and willingness to make something beautiful.

Not only for the eyes but the soul.

Is it all this and more or do I have my rose coloured glasses on?

Other posts you might like:
- Sightseeing Around Paris
- Trying A Croissant Baking Class in Paris
- Provence In A Day
- Mon Premier Post En Français

22 thoughts on “An Ode to Paris

  1. Paris is, without a doubt, a city that continues to draw me to it– time and time again. I have a love-hate relationship with it, but having lived in France for four years, my frequent visits to the French capital showed that I couldn’t help myself, that I am actually a romantic and could spend a lifetime uncovering everything that the city has to offer. Paris, je t’aime! ❤

    1. Oh I’m so happy to find someone else who feels the same! I’ve got an ever growing list of things I want to see and do there next time and it just seems like the list keeps growing. There are not so nice things about Paris but there’s more good than bad.

  2. Agreed. History, art, books, and historic streets, and bookstores, and THE mother of all rivers. And bookboxes. (I know many of the bouquinistes along the River. I wonder how they have fared).
    And food and wine and food and wine, and a bad mood. But one has to know Parisians to draw a smile on their face… Their peculiar sense of humour.
    Thanks for the post.

      1. Very true. Now I know they have a bad reputation. Particularly among foreigners. But I can testify they are equal opportunity: they treat the French the same. 😉

  3. Ah! Paris.
    One of the cities we visited decades ago, just once, that we talk about revisiting.

    We have been to various parts of France since then, but for some reason or other, never made it back to this enticing city. Loved reading your impressions, fascination, and viewing your lovely images.

  4. Pierre P.

    Quite a nice ode to Paris. I work in Paris, live in Vincennes near Paris, but I come from Lyon. I feel about the same for Lyon as you do for Paris, so I understand, I think. Paris is an intriguing city, so welcoming sometimes, and yet rejecting other times. It’s the only French global city, and as such is neither really French, nor totally global. It’s a city I love to hate, and I’d hate to love, though you don’t have this kind of relationship with something you really hate 😉

      1. Pierre P.

        Before I moved to Paris, I didn’t want to go there, like maybe 90% of French people (the remaining 10 percents are happy Parisians).

        Paris is very expensive compared to many other cities, life is stressful, people work a lot and can be a bit too ambitious, and you will definitely have to learn to live in narrow places when living in Paris. There are many reasons why most French people don’t want to live there.

        However, it’s true that in Paris, the architecture is really beautiful (though most French cities also have their “charme”), the cultural life is always pretty rich, and that it’s a place where you can actually travel without needing to go abroad. And the surroundings of Paris are great (Orléans, Rouen, Reims, Chartre, Lille, are only 1 hour away from Paris by train).

        I’d say the best balance would be to live in a city near Paris where prices are lower and life can take its time, and spend some weekends in Paris.

      2. Interesting. I should add these surrounding towns to my list to visit and stay in next time. I have a never ending list of things to do and see in and around Paris. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I love Paris too. Wonderful city with lots of art , history and there always special atmosphere. Thank you for the post Sophie and following Suitcase Travel blog! Have a great day!

  6. Paris is without a doubt a gorgeous city and one that is incredibly rich in art and history – which definitely account for its beauty and charm, even though we might not realise it all the time. I lived in Paris for two years and only started loving it when I left, and since then I long to go back every now and then. Why? I don’t know. I guess that Paris, in itself, is a vibe, a feeling, an atmosphere. It’s quiet and incredibly busy at the same time, and it stays beautiful on rainy days too. Just reading your post and thinking about it made me miss it so much. Thanks for bringing back lovely memories 😊

  7. I think you’ve expressed your love for Paris very well. I agree with you though that sometimes my favourite places are the hardest to describe in words. Paris just has so many different dimensions. I feel like I’ve only scratched the very top layer. It’s weird that on my first trip to Paris in my early 20s I wasn’t nearly as impressed with it as 30 years later. I love your nighttime Eiffel Tower photo. Was that at Christmas?

    1. It’s weird isn’t it not being able to translate feelings to words? I feel the same way and I keep finding new things that I want to see- I’ve started writing a Paris list down. That’s interesting, do you think it’s because you had places to compare it to since your first trip or perhaps your tastes had changed? Yes, those tents were a Christmas market. I’m pretty impressed with that shot- I usually end up with more blurry night pictures than clear ones.

  8. Pingback: Finding Yourself In Your Travels – Lingo in Transit

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