Paris is always a good idea. – Audrey Hepburn
As Thomas Jefferson said, “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.” When you arrive in Paris and the early evening spreads out before you, wide-open and full of the mystery and anticipation of not having made plans, good things are bound to happen. When we landed in May of 2014, we were greeted by our beautiful friend Susan and got straight to the best business that Paris can offer: wandering the streets of the 7th Arrondissement–eating, drinking, dancing, and making new friends.
We grabbed a bite at Le Saint-Germain, then rambled down the streets, through a photo shoot (featuring a lovely Aston Martin), and into a little bistro where a rowdy party was clamoring in the back. Delinda was quick to make friends with the party guests and we were invited to join them and share their wine. Amongst the group was the owner of a local antique gallery, who invited us to continue the party at his gallery when our gathering outgrew the restaurant. Much music, champagne, and dancing ensued late into the night. In other words, it was fantastic! Nothing beats new friendships made over good wine in foreign places.
The next morning found us a little battered, but nothing a decadent breakfast of crepes, bacon, and fried egg couldn’t fix. Once we finished eating, we were ready to explore the city in the daylight. We toured the Louvre, the “locks of love” bridge, and Notre Dame. For those unfamiliar with the Locks of Love bridge, it was an area on the Pont des Arts where couples would attach a padlock with their initials written on it to the delicate ironwork on the sides of the bridge, often tossing the key into the Seine below. Over approximately five years, the locks proliferated the tune of about 45 tons pulling on the iconic framework of the bridge, and it’s estimated that about 700,000 keys had found new homes of the bed of the Seine. In the summer of 2015, the padlocks were removed to restore the aesthetic ideal so representative of Parisian standards, as well as safety to the structure of the bridge and river below. Alas, no longer a feature of a walking tour of Paris, we were happy to have seen it before it disappeared.
Of course, the Louvre and Notre Dame were enchanting. What visit to Paris is complete without swooning over the gothic lines of Notre Dame, neck craning upward to truly appreciate the intended view of the worshippers below? By the time evening rolled around, we were full of joie de vivre and ready to revel encore. And once more, Paris didn’t disappoint.
The next morning, we set off to explore again, now in the company of our friends Alex and Aline as well. We bounced along the sidewalks below cream and cerulean buildings and baskets of red geraniums balancing on tiny iron balconies. A quick visit to the Eiffel Tower was followed by one of my favorite moments of the trip. As we walked along, we noticed a bearded gentleman in a white suit strolling ahead of us with a large roll of masking tape in hand. Naturally, we had to follow him to learn the secret of this interesting stranger with the tape. He wound his way along to a fence near the park, where he had erected a pop-up gallery beneath the linden trees. We watched as he carefully mounted each piece onto the iron fencing with the tape. He indulged us with stories of his work, showing us piece by piece as he talked excitedly. We chose a piece to bring home with us and he happily signed it before we left. It’s exactly these kinds of rose-tinted, magical little moments that make Paris such a wonderful place to visit.
Our evening meal was a feast of oysters and prawns at La Mercerie, an amazing little restaurant we would highly recommend. It was the perfect end to our short visit to Paris before catching a train to St. Tropez and Le Garde-Freinet.
If ever there were a city that encouraged the languid, charmed discovery of beauty and wonder, it’s Paris. There’s something around every corner–phenomenal wine and decadent food, whimsical characters and iconic architecture. Everything we think and dream of Paris is true, and nothing compares to simply being there, in the moment, absorbing it through our very pores.
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