So, I’m back in Canada now and have had some time to reflect on my summer in Paris. I had a wonderful time and am so glad I did it! There isn’t anything I regret or would do differently. There are many things I didn’t blog about and if you’re in Paris, I recommend a few of them.
Be open to talking to strangers. I had lots of interesting conversations with complete strangers – the family from Seattle for four hours one night, the waiter who’d spent a year in Montreal, the couple from Buffalo and many more. It’s not something I would do at home, but people are more open when they’re on holiday too! I even made some ‘online’ friends through blogging – again, not something I would do at home!
Attend a dinner party of strangers. I recommend Jim’s dinner party. Amazing guy – he’s an expat who’s been having a dinner party for english speaking people every Sunday night for around forty years. He remembers everyone’s name all night and will introduce to the people next to you. I met some very interesting people there – the girl from Toronto who came to Paris to mend a broken heart, the university student from Kenya who lives in York, the expat from London who came with her husband, hated Paris, got divorced, stayed in Paris and is now married to a man from Spain to name a few. I still email John, a fellow bibliophile from Manhattan and we went for dinner before he left Paris – he is in love with the city.
Bookshops – I loved the famous Shakespeare and Company but the Abbey Bookshop in St. Michel is fantastic and the owner is really knowledgeable. It isn’t nearly as busy (it’s hidden a bit in an alley) but a true gem. There are books from floor to ceiling and piled high on the floor, tables and every conceivable surface. Take a (cautious) trip to the basement and wade through the books – hours of fun!
Wander aimlessly – there is great people watching in Paris. I love how the tables and chairs are set up to face the street – people watching is a favourite pastime. You’ll find little shops with that perfect item, come across a small market vendors, and maybe stumble upon some great wine or coffee along the way.
A very handsome and wise man once told me about “Paris Pollution” – you know, the romance of the city, the expectations that go along with being on holiday there. This wears off after a while and I’m glad it did. By the end it was like living there without a job and seemed more mundane. I was ready to leave the city of Paris (if not same said wonderful man!). The phrase “La vie en rose” came about for a reason though (not just it’s metaphorical one) – it’s a beautiful city and around twilight, as the sun sets, the reflections off the white buildings does have a rosy haze….
Paris is so big and has so much to offer that she deserves your time to explore her. And as wonderful as it was to spend time on my own, and discover so much and experience so much, I highly recommend spending an evening strolling the quai down to the Eiffel tower and sharing crepes. Paris is so much better when holding the hand of the one you love.