It is the most visited city in the world. Millions upon millions of tourists flock like sheep through the City of Lights every year, and the push and burn of the modern metropolis doesn’t even miss a beat. I love this city. It makes me feel like I can handle the world because there’s always Paris to return to. It has that romantic aesthetic that everyone loves to mention, but it has more than that too. It has history, and heart. Paris is a city of great diversity, of wealth and of street people. It’s a city that is eclectic as a greenhouse garden let to overgrow itself, and the scents and tastes are beautiful. The variety of Paris hotels that you can find in this city is big enough to satisfy any preference. I reserve my hotel, and then I go out into the city to experience once again my favorite things.
Sitting in a café
The most cliché thing that I can do in Paris is to choose a random café and to sit at one of its outdoor tables. It is a typically French practice in the art of people watching that I then engage myself in. The wicker chair back creaks and I lean against the stone wall, sipping on my wine or Kronenbourg, and enjoying the paces of the people. In New York everything is quickly-paced, but in Paris there is a more marked mix of those in a hurry and those without a deadline.
Wine on the Seine
I do like the bateaux mouches, especially at night when the Eiffel Tower explodes into that shockingly brilliant display of strobe light. And I like Ponf Neuf too. But where I most love experiencing the Seine is along the stone walkway. During the summer months the stone walkways along the Seine down near Notre Dame becomes crowded with artists and young people. It’s the evenings that I prefer, when everyone brings a bottle of wine and intermingles with everyone else. There’s a sense of fraternity that is hard to find elsewhere, and the wine helps in that regard.
South of the Palais de Luxembourg is where Paris hides its best park. Les Tuilleries are beautiful, and there are countless parks on a smaller scale that deserve mention too; but none of them are as pleasant as the Jardin de Luxembourg. It’s the perfect size, with the typical avenues of fine gravel intersecting vast stretches of lawn. The trees are symmetrically aligned, and long basins of water provide a place for children to sail model boats. I love to be there and to draw people as they sit to rest on the benches.
Learning in the Louvre
This list would not be complete if I did not mention the Louvre. This is the largest and most visited museum in the world. I’ve been there 5 times and yet still I cannot claim to have seen it all. There is always more to see. It speaks to the replay power of this national treasure that one has to keep returning again and again in order to be able to say he actually knows it.
Paris is a fine example of civilization, and were it not for visas and money, I might stay there to sit in cafes, drink wine on the Seine, stroll in Luxembourg’s gardens, and learn in the Louvre for the rest of my life.