Ah, Paris. Where to start…
I love the city for so many reasons, and I loved it long before I visited as an adult. I love the food, the wine, the fantastic beauty products, the sights, the language, the history. I love the laid-back culture, that je ne sais quoi, that perpetual shrug, as if to say, no worries. It’s hard to truly pin down what makes the city so special. It is, as many artists have tried to show, not a city so much as a character, always evolving, always calling the other characters to action.
I can’t quite say when the obsession began. My childhood certainly played a part. My mother was French, and we visited the country several times when I was much younger.
It’s not the vacations I remember, but the way I felt when I came home from those trips, like I was part of something important. I was in France when their soccer team brought home the World Cup, and I remember wearing my champion scarf and bedazzled Eiffel Tower t-shirts to school with pride.
I was proud to be French, even as I grew older and realized how many of my classmates thought poorly of the French, calling them cowardly or rude or downright unpleasant. People who were basing their opinions off of stereotypes and ancient history, having never been to France themselves.
My love for Paris itself probably began in high school, when I enrolled in my first French language class. I was so excited to celebrate my heritage, and being around other students who adored the French lifestyle and language encouraged me to keep digging. Paris was a natural target, the dream destination of so many teenage girls. Only I never outgrew that love.
I’ll admit, I took everything I knew about the country of France; latched onto every painter, writer, designer, chef, and musician inspired by its beauty. I rolled it up into one very chic, very desirable package, and called it Paris. I wanted so badly to be a part of the city that had inspired so many before me. In a way, I already felt connected to it; that it, like my brown eyes and brown hair, was simply a part of my DNA. And yes, I realize that there is so much more to France than its capital city. I have so much love for France as a whole, but until I visited the city of my dreams for myself, nothing else would satisfy.
Of course, we all know that’s what led me to start this blog. I did visit Paris, in the summer of 2014, and despite my fears, the city was in no way overrated, underwhelming, boring, or cliched. Packed with tourists, yes, but many of the best places are. Visiting with my family did nothing to dampen my love of Paris. If anything, it intensified the feeling that I belonged in the city of lights. I like to think of it as pilgrimage, a family trip to the place of our heritage.
So I went back. It took nearly two years of saving, planning, and dreaming, but I returned to Paris in May, accompanied this time by my boyfriend Dan. Of course, my French grandparents played a huge role in the planning process, and I cannot thank them enough for all the assistance they offered along the way. I probably would not have been able to return so quickly without their help, not to mention, the trip would have been much less luxurious. Thank you Mamie and Papy for a true holiday, and for hosting us in Chaumont before we went off to Paris.
You can meet Mamie and Papy and read all about our trip to Chaumont here.
Returning to Paris with Dan was like a dream come to life. Sure, there were plenty of bumpy moments (like our apartment being next door to a construction site), but that’s life. And I loved it. Just looking at our vacation photos and prepping future posts fills me with joy, and I am so excited to return to the place that inspires my writing more than anything else. I hope you’ll join me as I relive the adventure one day at a time.
What is your “Paris?” Comment below and tell me about the city that makes your heart race.