Paris got me. That city reeled me in and captured my heart.
It’s something out of a wonderful dream. It’s the kind of dream you wake up from, only to right away shut your eyes and beg your subconscious to take you back because you left too soon.
It didn’t take long after my arrival to realise that all the songs, movies and literature were right: Paris is exceptional. It’s beautiful, iconic, active and serene all at the same time. Paris truly lives up to the hype.
With my backpack still strapped on, I stepped off the metro and did what every tourist must do: pay a visit to the nearest pastry shop. With a Pan Au Chocolat in hand and the infamous Eiffel Tower just barely visible in the distance, I knew I was in a very special place on our Earth.
Paris’s streets are lined with cream coloured buildings, decorated with intricate little balconies. Below them are shaded cafes, hosting locals while they lazily sip their morning (and afternoon) brews, accompanied with a cigarette dangling out of their delicate hand. I couldn’t help but get lured onto the terrace of these little cafes. The spell the city had cast on me blocked any kind of regret that would’ve normally accompanied a six euro bill for the tiny expresso I downed with one gulp.
For a moment, as I strolled along River Seine, life felt perfect and simple. As someone who usually prefers not to witness public displays of affection between random strangers, in Paris, I couldn’t allow myself to disapprove. There was something strangely pleasing about seeing lovers, old and young, enjoying each other’s company in the City of Love. That’s the power of Paris. Any long-held feelings of bitterness and disapproval evaporates with newfound love and appreciation for where you are in that moment.
Whether you like a touristy kind of itinerary or not, if you’re visiting Paris, it’s basically a requirement that you seek out the Eiffel Tower. If you’re not easily impressed by huge and historic landmarks, allow me to suggest visiting Paris’s iconic tower at sunset. The coppery, peachy orange tint that the Eiffel Tower achieves at this part of the day is surprising and familiarly amazing, all at the same time. Allow yourself to then take a moment to relax and wait around for the real show to begin: the Eiffel Tower at night. Lay down a blanket somewhere with a good view of the tower and watch it sparkle for five magical minutes as it does every hour, on the hour.
Paris deserves all its media accolades. This beautiful and magical place will somehow manage to manipulate your thoughts and emotions into a state of pure bliss. But don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself. See what all the hoopla is about. Even if you’re not a sucker for romance and nostalgia like me, it’s totally worth it to pay the Mona Lisa a visit, gawk at the architectural elegance of Notre Dame, and enjoy some delicious wine and cheese.
You can thank me later.
Words by Julia Sattler