Paris is a complex city.
It is contradictory, rhythmic, full of opinion. Everything is layered.
A place of both opulent wealth and bohemian living, the rich wrap themselves in designer brand labels, and the poor cloak themselves in only in their artistry. A jazz player will be found making melodies in the Métro carriage, this priceless gift exchanged roughly for a couple of coins. Well above ground, the parochial wife of a powerful business man swans down the Champs Elysees, draping her exquisite figure in fur, gold and silk.
Chocolate is baked tenderly in butter and pastry, in Boulangeries all over the city. Hundreds upon hundreds of Pain au Chocolat feed a never-ending horde of hungry mouths from dawn until dusk. Well-versed accents coat the native language in a crisp exoticism, often bewitching and sometimes abusing a mass of beguiled tourists. These visitors flock to the main attractions, Tower de Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Musee du Louvre, their cameras working hard to capture every crumb of history and landscape.
Somewhere between the 7th and 8th Arrondissement, a girl is wrapped tightly in her one and only coat, her nose bright red from the cold, a black and white print scarf wound high around her neck so she can nestle her cheek against occasionally it for warmth. She has less than 5 days to soak up everything that Paris has to offer. Her heels pound the pavement with the mixed force of conviction and desperation – she wants to see all the popular tourist attractions, but also some snapshot of real Parisian culture. This experience she knows she will only stumble upon by luck, tucked away in some dark romantic corner that only the locals know of.
After her 5 days are over, a concoction of happy scribbles have taken note of the following:
- Apartment in the 3rd Arrondissement
- The Eiffel Tower
- Salmon at the St Regis Cafe
- Jaegermeister for 17€ at the local supermarché
- Champs Elysees (overrated)
- Louis Vuitton & Mercedes
- Wine & Pizza @ Grazie - 91, Boulevard Beaumarchais
- Arc de Triomphe & the roundabout of death.
- The Moulin Rouge (thoroughly uninspiring)
- Da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa, seen from the perspective of a sardine in a tightly packed can of touristes
- A morning run along The Seine – finally beautiful without all the people.
- All the colours of Montmartre
- Saint-Sébastien — Froissart (on line 8 of the Paris Métro)
- Confirmation of the undying wish to become an artist.
- Cigarette Smoke and cured Jambon
- Creperie, pronounced ‘craperie’
- Le Pain Quotidien
- A bottle of Bourdeaux, Foie Gras & Escargot at an exquisite old Train Station (Bouillon Chartier)
- Magic & Disneyland
- A ride on space mountain, and vomit to match.
- Old friends, silly stories & too many shots @ The Bootleg Bar
- One hell of a hangover #worth it
- A lone souvenir
- A sleepy train ride back to England