There is something perverse about the way Parisians walk — sometimes hurried, usually with a strong beat, but rarely with a happy-go-lucky stride that says — “wow, how lucky am I to live in Paris.” Parisians should be skipping with delight, in high heels or not, on the narrow cobblestone sidewalks, as they walk on by the Conciergerie tower where Marie Antoinette was held in prison, the breathtaking Palais Royal where Louis XIV was raised, and stunning designer stores that line Rue St. Honore.
Truth be told, it is a mystery to me why Parisians ever leave this city, or complain about it, or just frown with a boring yawn, as if anything could be so dreary, ugly or tired in this city. When the summer rain drips, I see women drape their utilitarian scarfs so they are used as makeshift umbrellas on their heads, elegantly creating an ornament from something so ordinary. And when the sun dips, so late at night, and dusk just settles past 10, I love the hum of life while Parisians sing (really talk) eloquently as they engage in necessary conversation over table wine and a late dinner on the terrace at a cafe.
You hear that Parisians are romantics, and yes, that is true. But they are romantics about life, less so about the city. Maybe that is what draws me in, as it is the love of life — a yearning to eat the moment, that sets Parisians apart. How it is that this city can ever dull the senses seems impossible to me, though when you are surrounded by beauty you become immune to it.
Yet, whether you live here or are just visiting, there is a richness to life that beats each day anew, gives inspiration to love, and happiness, and that kindles a warm spirit for living. My favorite places to visit Paris include:
Le Marais. A fantastic mix of old, new, hip and traditional, all together in this little Quartier.
Rue Cler. This shopping street was Julia Child’s favorite.
Jardin des Tuileries. The garden created by Catherine de Medici.
Champs de Mars. A park underneath the Eiffel Tower.
Place Dauphine. A quiet pocket off of the Pont Neuf and close to Notre Dame.