How do I describe Paris? To be honest, I'm a bit undecided about the city right now. Sarah put it best this afternoon while resting high above the city on the top of the Arc de Triomphe: "Paris is like a movie preview; you've already seen all the good parts."
Okay, let's get the negative out of the way - - Paris is dirty. Everyone smokes like a chimney and throws the butts absolutely anywhere. Everyone owns a dog and allows them to relieve themselves anywhere they want. Graffiti abounds. The French aren't all rude, but when they are, it's excessive. While other areas embrace their history without neglecting the upkeep of the city as a whole, Paris seems to spit-shine the major attractions while the rest of the city falls apart.
Once you learn the city, accept the locals and filter through the less desirable bits, Paris does indeed have a charm about her, especially near the Seine. Boats glide by slowly making the water lap up against the sand-colored stones. Lovers cuddle together along the riverside walkways, some sitting on the edge kicking their feet over the sides. Large leafy trees shade people on benches having a picnic lunch. Shouts of "bon soir!" can be heard as locals greet camera-toting tourists floating by on the boats. Throngs of people cross the bridge overhead, walking casually over gold-leafed emblems and Napoleonic seals.
Above the river, the streets are lined with cafes and shops. You can't escape the bustle of French conversation as you pass crowded tables, piled high with cafe, fromage et crepes. Large Baroque statues softly and silently watch you as you pass. High above you, through the trees that line the street, the Eiffel Tower glows a rustic orange against a deep blue sky. Parisiennes stroll by, always taking advantage of the party that always starts when the sun goes down, baguette in one hand, cigarette and dog leash in the other.
At the top of every hour, everyone crowds into the Champs du Mars, and when le tour begins to twinkle, everyone stops their laughing and playing to clap and cheer.
Additionally, among generous helpings of French attitude, we've also met some exceptionally nice people. Le Palais du Versailles was a living design lecture; I finally got to experience what I've learned so much about. Montmartre is also fun, the street art fair has a very pleasant energy about it.
I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.