I grew up surrounded by French language and Mediterranean culture, so my obsession with the city of Paris has naturally been a lifelong ordeal. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fantasizing and dreaming about the city of light… the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame cathedral, the fashion, the patisseries, and the day I would finally get to experience it all for myself.
The Monday I arrived in Paris on a Eurostar train from London was just as I had always pictured it would be: grayish skies, chilly weather, and an air of excitement. When I looked up and saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, I squealed just like a little girl. I had dreamt of that day and that very moment my whole life. The sole motivation for me to work hard at school and my career was so that one day I could make my dreams come true and travel to places my soul was calling me to… And Paris was always at the very top of my long list.
Well, it was everything I’ve ever imagined about it, yet still somehow managed to totally wow me. Each day I had a full agenda of things to see and do, but I couldn’t help but just slowly stroll each street, wandering around in awe, and fantasizing about the centuries of famous history that took place in this magical place. There was just no way I could prepare myself for all the beauty I witnessed. In fact, it made me incredibly emotional at times, a reaction which has only happened to me in one other place among all my travels and it was no way near this extreme. I can now say I know what it feels like to fall head over heels in love with a city.
Here is a list of 15 simple things that explain why Paris captured my heart:
1. The way you can’t walk for more than 5 minutes (and that’s pushing it) without encountering something gorgeous and captivating, and worthy of stopping to admire. Every last detail from fences to lamp posts to hand rails have some aesthetic element. You are always surrounded by art and beauty.
2. The uniform style of all buildings is so unique, so elegant, so enchanting. I’m a huge fan of gothic architecture so my breath was taken away at virtually every corner. There are many beautiful places in the world, but I’m not sure anything will ever compare.
3. The way the city lacks the tackiness found in the states. There are no chain restaurants and fast food joints on every corner. What we know as “mom and pop shops” are the soul of the city. Lovely little boutiques and cafes line every street. It has not lost its old world charm over to corporate greed, and seemingly never will.
4. The fact that a woman can breast feed her baby in the middle of a busy cafe while she sips her coffee and no one even notices. No one is uptight or worried about being politically correct. As an American, I am jealous of how much more liberal Europeans tend to be.
5. The skies. I’ve always heard things about “Paris skies” and now I know why. There are no words to describe them. The clouds simply seem to hug the city a certain way, as if they’re also enamored.
6. The language. It’s just… SO sexy.
7. The way people take their dogs everywhere with them. It made me smile each time I saw a woman stopping into a boulangerie with her little posh dog by her side.
8. The public transportation system is very efficient. There are metro stations everywhere and it’s very easy to figure out and use. I was able to navigate extremely easy and went all over the place with no issues at all.
9. The food. Crepes, croissants, baguettes, and quiche for breakfast; delicious ham and cheese Croque-Monsieur sandwiches and fresh salads for lunch; and savory sauces with dinner entrees like steak frites, duck confit, and beef bourguignon. Lots of cheese and bread is right up my alley. Everything I had was totally delicious and I ate like an absolute pig with no cares in the world. I won’t even begin to get started on the pastries and macaroons. This city is heaven for foodies.
10. The Parisian lifestyle. The way they’re never too busy to sit outside at a cafe with friends and talk, even in the cold. The way they walk around eating a baguette yet remain so thin (didn’t see hardly any overweight people anywhere). The way they dress chic even to run to the store. The way they really are just as stuck up as everyone says… I know this is one negative aspect that many people don’t like about Paris I can actually appreciate it. At least they have good reason to be stuck up. That is what in fact makes them The French. They’re just effortlessly, inherently COOL.
11. The attractiveness of the general public. You constantly see beautiful men and women who could be [and probably are] models everywhere.
12. The diversity of countless cultures found in this metropolis, yet the way the French spirit remains strongly dominant.
13. The history. The French have always been so relevant throughout the centuries, and are well known for their spirit of revolution and the great influence they’ve had on the rest of the world. I loved how much they embrace and cherish their own history. It’s apparent from the amazing efforts made to preserve the very old and historic monuments, cathedrals, and statues found everywhere in the city.
14. The element of romance. You can just feel it in the air. This really is the city of love. Whenever I caught young lovers holding hands or kissing, it was more genuine and passionate than what I see back home. It’s beautiful!
15. The bohemian flavor that is so much a part of this city and its history lives on. Paris has always been known for its considerable contributions in art, music, fashion, film, literature, and philosophy. I absolutely loved being immersed in it and have never been the same since.