Where better to start a long dreamed of debut tour to Europe than Paris, the City of Lights. What can I say about Paris that hasn’t been said before? Probably nothing, but after 3 days here, it has captured my heart in a way I never expected. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, heartwarmingly romantic and inspiringly eclectic while all the time retaining an effortless sophistication.We’ve wasted not a minute of our precious few days here and by doggedly ignoring aching backs and tired feet, have managed to see almost all the most famous sights. But Paris is so much more than these admittedly impressive attractions and for me, its true heart lies in the warmth of its people, their joie de vivre and even more importantly, their food! We have eaten our way through this great city devouring the most delicious crepes, pastries, breads and icecream. Meanwhile, despite this abundance of delicious baked goods and irresistible confectionary and flying in the face of a worldwide obesity epidemic, Parisian women remain supremely, elegantly reed slim. How they manage this has been the cause of much speculation over many years, but finally, I believe I have unearthed the secret to their svelte bodies – travelling around Paris is like attending a never-ending step class! It seems that escalators and lifts aren’t big business here but mountainous staircases are by far the preferred method of elevation or descent. No matter where I go there are stairs, stairs and more stairs, a great antidote to the copious calories consumed. Parisians are also thoughtful enough to provide graffiti wherever there is a (formerly) blank piece of wall, so that you have something to look at while you catch your breath.
On the subject of food, may I suggest that anyone finding themselves in the quaint Latin Quarter make a special effort to visit an icecream emporium extrordinaire that goes by the name of Amorino. Here they craft their sinfully decadent gelato into exquisite roses that are almost too beautiful to eat … almost, but not quite … as it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tasted plenty of ice cream!
While in the Latin Quarter, a not to be missed delight is a visit to what I believe may just be the world’s ultimate bookshop, Shakespeare and Company. This purveyor of both second hand and new books is housed in what was once, in centuries past, a monastery. With its quaint rooms and ponderous air, one can imagine Hemingway writing furiously in its garreted window. It’s truly a delight, not to be missed!
During our all too brief stay here, Paris has shown us a variety of her faces. One day a blistering 30 degrees, the next warm but overcast and today cold and rainy, but whatever the weather all I can really say about Paris is get here, it should be on everyones bucket list. Au revoir Paris, until we meet again … and we will.
Next stop … Lucerne.
- La Tour Eiffel (anywaywhocares.wordpress.com)