Paris intrigue

This week I typed this phrase into Google: "best time of year to go to Paris"

I have wanted to go since I was a wee girl.  And I'm not so wee anymore. And gosh darn it, I'm not sure why this year can't be the year it happens.  After all, it is on my long list of new things to try.

So I'm starting, slowly, to research... which hopefully will lead to planning.

A few weeks ago, my husband said, "What's the deal with Paris? Why do women love Paris? Why do YOU love Paris?"

I had a mouthful of lunch in my mouth and I was trying to work on the unfinished puzzle that's been on our dining room table for two whole months.  I wasn't prepared to give him a detailed response, but I promised I would.  And so for my husband, and for anyone else who cares to know... here is why I love Paris.

I spent two years in high school and two years in college studying French (although I desperately need some practice and renewed study).  But which came first? The chicken or the egg?

First of all, I've never been to Paris. Never having been, it can be a fantasy, a symbolic object of unnamed fuzzy hopes and dreams and feelings.  I fully acknowledge that.

So maybe most of what I love is not Paris at all, but all that Paris symbolizes to me. But why choose Paris as this stand-in for my unconscious desires?  Ah...

It's embarrassing to admit, but true. I think Hollywood has quite a lot to do with my love of Paris. 

All these films I've seen put Paris high on a romantic pedestal.  Paris is the scene of love in bloom.  It's a beautiful, manicured (often Hollywood set) Paris, populated by beautiful characters in beautiful clothes.  It is... a fantasy.

But what is it that they portray that's so appealing?

A city with beautiful architecture, history, art museums, boat cruises and romantic walks by the River Seine, streetside cafes that look like places you'd lounge and linger, glamorous shopping, flower markets and flea markets, women elegantly dressed wearing signature perfume and red lipstick, gourmet cheese, and chocolate and wine, and bread.  All these things come to mind when I think of Paris.

And none of these things make me think of work or industry.  They all make me think of leisure, pleasure, exploration, discovery, and luxury. 

I've also been told that French culture is an older, slower one that values beauty, quality, family, relationships, gourmet food, art, style.  This can't help but appeal to me. 

My fantasy trip to Paris is not one that is jam-packed with site-seeing.  It's staying in a charming little apartment, sleeping in, in the morning.  Having a cup of coffee (and a croissant!), while I look out the balcony at my new view.  Then taking a leisurely walk - in absolutely no hurry, exploring the neighborhoods, the shops, stopping whenever I feel like it.  And having lunch at a sidewalk cafe, watching people walk by and drinking it all in.  Then, in the afternoon, an art museum or historical site perhaps, or maybe shopping at a boutique or flea market.  But nothing rushed.  Then a late dinner, somewhere nice, but not a place that will scare me off with it's chicness and unidentifiable food.  This is my fantasy day in Paris.


  1. oh absolutely! i have never been to paris either and i have such a fascination with the city.
    the history...and the movies (like you said)...the shopping...the fashion + style of parisians...the tea...the music...the accents...did i mention the fashion?

    its also known as a super romantic city. definitely a must go in your lifetime....

    tell your husband that!


  2. my vote would be: go when it's warm! i was there a couple years ago in November, and apart from some really excellent meals, i was miserable the whole time (i don't handle cold very well).
    but it is lovely and worth seeing in person.

    oh, you would love my friend Stephanie's posts about her one-month stay in Paris -- they are beaucoup fun! ( http://naturalartificial.blogspot.com/2010/01/hot-boys-of-louvre.html )

  3. Ahh I am dying to get to Paris- I totally know how you feel! I love your description of what you want to do there- sounds perfect! It is so nice and detailed, and really shows your priorities!

  4. Go when Paris is warm, then you can take some bread, cheese, wine down to the seine (at ille de cite) and sit where the locals have their lunch, then grab an icecream....bliss!!!

    I love Paris xx

  5. I agree about going when it's not too chilly, if possible. Your "fantasy day in Paris" sounds exactly like the way we spend our travel days now! I'll be interested to see when you plan a trip--we'll probably be going this spring. Oh, and I too spent two years in high school and two years in college in French classes!

  6. I could have written this myself. I can't really remember when my fascination began but while all my more practical friends took Spanish in junior high and high school (in Southern California, this would be the logical choice), I chose French. I am 47 and truly hope to make it to Paris by the time I'm 50. In the meantime, I am totally smitten by New Orleans, for some of the same reasons Paris beckons.

  7. In college I was lucky enough to go on an art history trip to Europe. Paris is the one city that lives up to it's reputation... you will not be let down. I hope this is the year for your dream trip! :)