Amour. The one true way to describe how I feel about Paris. My sweet, sweet Paris. Streets so beautiful, weather so perfect and food so delicious. When I am in Paris, I am a better person. My tummy is always full, I become inspired and I’m always busy. It’s true what Audrey said;
“Paris is always a good idea”Audrey Hepburn.
My days were filled with strolls along the seine, visits to museums and palaces and eating an inhuman amount of food. The food I indulged in was that of gluten-free heaven. My motto was to eat it while it’s available. Not great for my waistline but a treat for the tastebuds.
Paris wasn’t all about food, between my meals I went to some of the most picture perfect places. The Palace gardens being one. Surrounded by the palace itself, the tranquil garden has gravel flooring and perfectly trimmed trees and hedges. Huge roses of light pink and white. Roses and hedges created smaller gardens in the centre of the columned trees. Trees perfectly squared making shaded paths either side of the space. Between the mini gardens and manicured trees, right in the centre is a large water fountain with chairs situated around. Almost all the chairs were taken. People enjoying lunch or sweet treats. It is the perfect place for lounging around and enjoying the sunshine we were having. I love that in Paris most parks have this. Rather than just park benches, there are bistro-style tables and chairs or beach chairs.
Musee d’Orsay was on my list of place’s to visit this time. During my last visit, I went to the Louve and what an incredible museum it is. I spent almost my whole day there. Mostly because I go so lost but also there is so much to see. It is a place you must go once in your life. This time in Paris I wanted to go to all new places. Don’t get me wrong, I went back to a few of my favourites. The museum, like many things in Paris, was crazy busy. If you ever find yourself in Paris make sure you buy ticket’s online before going to the attractions. This is a must for all attractions in Paris.
The four-story museum is home to lots of sculptures and painting. My favourite kind of painting, in any museum, are the ones so large they take up the entire wall and you have to take a step back to see the whole thing. But my favourite part of this particular museum is the giant clocks. On the very top floor, one clock face sits in the café and the other in the gift shop.
To get between the two, you pass some of Monet’s work and a few other artists. You can find some of Van Gohs work down on the second floor. And through the whole museum, you can find many, many artists. Once you reach the huge clock-face you can look down onto the Seine. The best part about the clock is not that its huge and beautiful. But you see it from the inside so all the numbers flipped and the clock hands are going anti-clockwise. You will have seen this clock over social media and advertising for the museum itself.
I like to think Paris is the most photogenic city. Well, of the ones I have been to anyway. I could never get enough of walking the Parisian streets. Surrounded by old buildings with exquisite detail. Not a modern skyscraper in sight. Passing by restaurants with seating under the awnings that have been set up to people watch. The city stylish beyond belief and has an incredible smell of bread and patisseries floating through the air. Artist set up on the side of the footpaths on streets and bridges showcasing the art of the captivating city.
For me, it is never a trip to Paris without a stop by Laudree and Jean Paul Hevan. Laudree is where you go for the best macarons and Jean Paul Hevan for the best chocolate that will ever touch your lips. Both a little pricey but worth all the money in my purse.
Of course, Paris also wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t go by all the monuments that Paris is known for. The Arch de Triumph, I stopped by Moulin Rogue (didn’t see a show) and the Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame is a must, but this time was very different from my last few visits. I would usually enter to see the spectacular interior but this time, heartbreakingly, not. Police barricade each road that passes by and is lined at the front and sides. There was no entry point left unmanned. I saw the front and the side. I saw the scorch marks and scaffolding. I count my blessing each day that I have been on this trip. This day was one where I reflected on how lucky I am to have already seen inside.
So many people travel so far to see this cathedral. You could see the disappointment on their face when they see its spectacular exterior and realise; they won’t get to see inside. It breaks my heart too because I know what is within those walls and what it is they are missing out on.
As I mentioned earlier, I tried to see all new places and this time I went to so many. Opéra Garnier is one of my favourites. When visiting to see the place and not for a performance, you enter through the side doors of the building. So you don’t get to use the steps that lead up to the main entrance at the front. When you walk into the main foyer you don’t see the enchanting space all at once. Instead, you come from behind the main staircase. The room then begins to reveal itself a little slower than if you were to enter from the front. I like it this way better, it was a little more dramatic.
As you enter, you walk up the first set of stairs. The first thing you see is the second-floor balcony. Then gradually the artwork on the ceiling becomes visible. Then, the whole foyer is revealed. A gold and white marble like pattern is everywhere; the stairs, railings and walls. Candelabras stand at each of the three entrance points of the staircase on the railing. When you proceed up the main staircase, you come to the middle platform and you can go left or right. This will take you to the second floor and more staircases to continue up. These staircases not as grand but still lovely with the marble pattern and perfectly fitted red carpet.
If you follow the second floor around you will come to another room. This room rich in gold, chandeliers and paintings. Two large mirrors are at either end of the room, making it seem like the room goes forever. This room leads to the balcony that you can overlook the busy streets outside. The space not to be missed is the auditorium. Gold and red fill the room. The banisters meticulously detailed and curves to the circular shape of the room. Tiers all directly above each other, looking down onto more red seats and a stage that has been graced with opera, plays and ballet.
The opera house is a place I would tell everyone to see. I would also recommend a walk through the streets of Montmartre. When you go up the hill, where the Sacre`Coeur stands proudly. You can see it from any of the lower grounds of Paris. It’s a place where all fairy-tale villages could have been inspired from. It was like I had left busy Paris and went to a small French village in the South.
The little centre of this hilltop village had markets of paintings. People wanting to sketch your portrait, all claiming to be the next Picasso. All the restaurants and shops are the same size, not one bigger than the other. The roads all cobblestones and the houses with vines creeping up the sides. Crowds of people used the roads as footpaths and very few cars drove these tiny streets. The area of Montmartre spreads further than the hilltop and is definitely worth a day of exploring.
Paris is one of my favourite places. I have always loved it, even before actually going. Growing up my room was decorated with anything and everything Paris related. My dream was to visit just once, but my first time had me wanting more and now I will always return.
Home is where my heart is, Paris is where my soul feels free. But the gym is where my body should be.