I started this post over a month ago, whilst sitting in a corner coffee shop in a road parallel to the Parc du Champ de Mars, watching the dark, rainy world of Paris go past. It’s only 5pm and already the street lights are reflecting off the slippery surfaces, which are also scattered with leaves this late November.
I can’t believe I’m actually here. When I dreamed of my life in Paris, I always thought of this exact spot, albeit not in the dark evenings of autumn, but this road, adjacent to the tower, around the corner from where we stayed on our first trip, across the road from a tiny restaurant where I had a delicious meal with my parents, next door to the bakery with the cat was always sleeping in the window. This is my Paris dream and I have to pinch myself to ensure I’m in the moment and appreciating actually where I am.
It’s a chilly 5degrees today, the perfect excuse for some new winter clothes, followed by hot chocolate and Nutella crepes in the most typical Parisian cafe one could find. My almost waist length hair has just been cut off to a short bob, perfect for the upcoming winter and an opportunity to be embrace my inner Frenchy this perfect little city, whilst looking the Parisian part at the same time of course.
It couldn’t be more perfect, and the thought of leaving strikes a sharp jolt of sadness somewhere in the middle of my chest, because I know that I’ll never truly be this content anywhere. There’s nowhere else where I feel is more where I’m meant to be, even the sunny coast of Dubrovnik which stole my heart, or the monumental Forum in Rome, even London with all my lovely friends, I fear to even say home where everyone I love the most is and all my precious belongings. That’s what travel does to you: it gives you the best experiences and introduces you to the most amazing places, but then breaks your heart as you know you’ll never be able to have everything all at once, as you did before.
For now it’s enjoying every freezing moment, knowing it has to end eventually but appreciating how truly wonderful life is.
On my completed (yet ever growing!) adventure list include visiting the Catacombes, Versailles Palace, Ile de la Cité, Trocadéro, Musée D’Orsay and L’Orangerie (admiring art from Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh), Arc de Triomphe, Panthéon, National Assembly, Invalides, the modern and out of place Pompidou Centre, stunning La Marais district, Rue Crémieux, the Latin Quarter, Moulin Rouge, Montmartre, Sacré Cœur Basilica, Saint-Germain, Odéon, Concorde, Louvre, Place de la Madeline, Luxembourg Gardens, Tuileries Gardens, Ladurée, Grand Palais and Petit Palais, Disneyland, the huge Paris Flea Markets, Bastille, Montparnasse, Les Halles and Sainte-Chapelle.
Additionally I have mastered the French metro, attended Sunday night mass at the Notre Dame, spent hours upon hours at the Eiffel Tower and exploring every street surrounding her, looked for our 2013 locks on the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, admired amazing Christmas displays at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette, eaten enough Nutella crepes to last a lifetime, explored Christmas markets in Saint Germain, Boulogne and the huge ones on the Champs Elysées which are of course complete with mulled wine, onion soup, carols, lights, churros and hot chocolate, walked the Seine from morning until late at night, read in the amazing old Shakespeare and Company bookstore and cafe, awed at flagship store interiors and gasped at clothing price tags, and just generally loved living life as a Parisian.
Paris, I love you.