Dear Paris: I miss you
Dear Paris: I miss you
I miss you. It’s been a while since we last saw each other and I was planning a surprise visit this spring. However, the world and life had other plans. Rather than take advantage of Eurostar’s amazing low fares from London St. Pancras, I’m writing you this letter from the confines of my house. I know you were going through some pains yourself at the end of last year and the beginning of this one. Protest marred your tree-lined avenues, Notre Dame became a shell of its former glory and visits dropped. Still, I couldn’t wait to come back and enjoy your timeless beauty and wander through the alleyways of the different “arrondissements.”
I love walking by the various street book vendors, searching for classics in French while inhaling the intoxicating aroma of fresh crepes from a nearby food cart. While I’ve spent the day ambling through the vast halls of the Louvre, one of my favorite surprises is the Museé de l’Orangerie. The exquisite panorama of Claude Monet’s “Waterlilies” is breathtaking. Another lesser-visited museum favorite is the Museé d’Orsay. Set in a former train station, it has a cozier and more eclectic feel. With priceless pieces of art, as well as modern and quirky statues and pieces, it’s a wonderful hodgepodge to discover.
I miss wandering aimlessly through Les Halles and finding amazing vintage pieces and quaint cafes. While the huge galleria in the center of the area draws tons of shoppers, I prefer the remaining boutiques and stores to peruse. I love grabbing a quick breakfast croissant and café au lait before getting started, and there are plenty of great local spots to try. I love that you’re less touristy than Champs Elyseés and have your own spunky attitude.
One thing I miss most is the food. Your food is amazing and is making me hungry just thinking of it. Even my picky eaters agree there is something magical about the delectable eats in your city. My son can plow his way through a large charcuterie board at Le Concorde Brasserie in no time at all. My daughter adores the “frites” and usually goes through two portions in one sitting. One of the best burgers I’ve eaten came from a small cafe near the Museé d’Orsay. It was perfectly cooked, juicy and oozing with melted blue cheese.
I know sometimes you get a bad rap, but there are so many amazing things that make you absolutely unique and special. One of my favorite memories is when my husband and I visited two years ago in the summer. It was a warm day and we popped into a local grocer near sunset. We grabbed a baguette, a wedge of fresh Brie, a variety of cured meats and a bottle of wine. We took our purchases down to the dock on the Seine across from the Eiffel Tower. We celebrated our early anniversary watching the sunset and the City of Lights come to life. It was spectacular.
Although most of your shops, parks and landmarks are currently shuttered, I’m looking forward to visiting once you reopen and we can travel freely again. Until then, I’ll remember the stunning vistas from Sacre Cœur and the top of Montparnasse Tower. I’ll attempt to recreate your sweet crepes (and likely fail) and settle for a glass of Alsatian wine we brought home with us.
A bientôt et beaucoup bisous,
A writer who misses you dearly
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