My annual trek to Europe is well on its way to being finalized. Flight has been booked, and I am figuring out an itinerary with one of my good friends (who is a great companion when traveling abroad, might I add). This time around, I’ll be kicking off my week-long visit in Geneva for a couple of days before taking a train to one of my favorite cities in the world: Paris.
Paris-Paris… The incroyable City of Lights. A city of history, a city of beauty, a city that was once — for me — a non-starter. Wait, whaaaat??! Ironically enough, Paris always fell low on my priority list of “must see” cities. I’m not exactly sure why that was. But I distinctly remember scoffing every time someone gushed about wanting to go to Paris. Growing up, it was just one of those places that seemed to resonate well with people in one way or another. And there’s no question why. The culture that emanates from Paris is legendary, and its cosmopolitan beat is felt all over the world. It is sophisticated, it is diverse, it is fashion-forward, and it is – as we all know – a culinary bastion. Like London, New York and Tokyo, it is one of the world’s mega cities.
So why was I so uninterested in the city while growing up? Why was I always so enamored by the likes of Barcelona, Copenhagen and even Amsterdam instead? Not that those cities are not comparable, because they are each amazing mega cities in their own right. But Paris just seemed to be “everyone else’s city.” Everyone else wanted to go there when they “grew up,” so of course, I opted to choose someplace else for me.
And I did. My European travels took me to London, Barcelona, Amsterdam and even Venice before I happened to “bump into” Paris on an extra-long layover. The stop was long enough to venture away from CDG and spend a night in the 8th arrondissement. That short span of 22+ hours, for me, changed my mind about Paname. In those few hours, a leisurely stroll along the Seine besotted me to no end. Being in the presence of La Tour Eiffel, the Place de la Concorde, and even Notre Dame cathedral was life-changing for me. From the flickering lights of Eiffel to the tourist-laden byways of the Champs Elysees to the dim and candle-lit solitude within Notre Dame, I found an enlightenment that I may never be able to explain well.
Paris got me… and got me good. So good in fact that I went back for a proper visit (aka more than 22+ hours) just last Fall. And while I wracked my brain on where I could travel to this year, I jumped at the chance to go back as soon as the opportunity surfaced. So Dubrovnik, Stockholm and Lisbon will have to wait… because I’m going-going back-back to –Paris! And just as last Fall, I hope to uncover new neighborhoods, new cafes, and new anythings– there is always something else to uncover, and so the challenge is set before me.
I came upon an article recently that is full of interesting bits of info on the city… presenting ideas to explore from a different point of view: a literary tour of Paris. Writer and journalist, Rachel Thompson, gives readers a super interesting glimpse of Paris’ literary past –which had inspired the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and James Joyce just to name a few. These writers and more experienced Paris alongside the great artists of their time, and each came away with an inspiration that encouraged some of their best works.
As I take my own personal literary journey, I hope to find the same spark that these legends found while taking in everything “Paris.” Visit huffingtonpost.com to read Rachel’s blog post about her fantastic finds on her own literary journeys through the French capital.