This was not my first visit to the City of Light, but it was possibly the most memorable trip (perhaps because I wasn’t 20 and inebriated, which tends to degrade the memory). In fact, globbing onto my uncle’s vacation (with his partner and my cousin), I got to enjoy a much more civilised, luxurious version of this glamorous city. I was greeted warmly by the whole crew at our stunning Airbnb – a high-ceilinged, comfortably furnished marvel with an exquisite rain shower (my road-weary body was particularly delighted at this feature). My bike in storage until the last portion of the trip, I was ready to kick back and enjoy the wonderful cheeses, chocolates, and wines.
We wandered the streets for a while, stopping to enjoy a patio to watch the beautiful people flow by on the spacious, leafy boulevards of central Paris, stopping to ogle and join the masses snapping countless pictures of the iconic sights.
These pretty things are pretty gross.
The next day, we were up early and heading underground – to visit the catacombs and hang out with 16 million dead Parisians. Of course, we had to stop for delicious snacks first. A long history of quarries has left much of Paris standing on open space. This map shows the shocking percentage of central Paris that floats above old quarries.
This turned out to be an informative but also very strange tour. It is so easy to disassociate what you are seeing, as you wander through room after room of skulls and neatly stacked femurs, that these were people with lives, favourite colours, and pet peeves.
One of the treasures of this trip was getting to visit Shakespeare and Company, the famed English bookstore on the shore of the river. I think my brain looks kind of like this bookstore – eclectic collections of literature, with tiny nooks for reading or writing on the antique typewriters, notes of inspiration pinned to the walls from various people, a slightly out of tune piano waiting for whoever wants to share a tune.
We were in Paris, so it was pretty unavoidable to do a little shopping.
My wheat allergy put a serious damper on my ability to eat all the bread and croissants, however, I was completely seduced at the sight of the largest and most spectacular meringue. That evening was filled with only the most wonderful things. We cruised around the Seine on a sunset boat tour, complete with champagne.We then skipped the line at the Eiffel tower, and were gazing up at the ‘metal asparagus’ as its lights came on, sparkling into the evening, while all around us, we got to watch as darkness fell over the city and the lights of Paris started to glow.On our way back home, we stopped for some crepes.While the rest of the crew headed out in the morning to Dieppe and Vimy Ridge, I stayed back for one more day in this magical city to spend time with a friend. We enjoyed a perfectly blissful day of drinking wine and eating cheese in parks, lazing in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and spending the warm summer evening cruising around on bike-share cycles and sitting by the canal with dozens of other youths, snacking on iceberg lettuce and red wine (a surprisingly good pairing). The following morning, I boarded a train to leave this magical city with reluctance. Apparently, 3rd time is the charm, and during this visit, I finally fell in love with Paris.Au revoir Paris! ❤