If I had to pick one place in the whole world to visit again and again, it’d be Paris. Anyone who knows me will tell you that Paris has long been my favourite place to land.
A few years ago I took my sister to Paris. It was her first time in the “city of love” and I enjoyed seeing it anew through her eyes. I was very excited to share my favourite city and couldn’t wait to show her around. I didn’t even pause to consider that she might not appreciate it as much as I did… somehow I just knew she’d love it too.
Things had changed since my last visit seven years before. Security line ups at public venues, armed police presence in the streets and a now walled entry to the Eiffel Tower reflected a change in the times. This is a new reality for a city as popular as Paris leaving it vulnerable to tragedy on the global stage.
But as the week went on I realized that as much as Paris has changed it really is the same beautiful city steeped in tradition, style and history (the good and bad) that it has always been. The cuisine still demands long leisurely meals to enjoy it fully. Favourite treats from years gone by are still available and reliably delicious (the flaky croissants, soft baguettes and tangy shredded carrot salad did not disappoint). And things remained where I remembered them from previous visits, still predictable and steadfast.
We walked and walked while taking in the sites, finding beauty around every street corner. The history of the city is held in its buildings whether they originally housed royalty, military or mere peasants the architecture is simply beautiful. The term “retail therapy” takes on a whole new meaning with the wide variety of shopping experiences. The covered galleries house specialty boutiques, and the market streets hold a variety of spectacular wares; meats, cheeses, produce and beautiful flowers. It’s truly inspirational.
Fortunately, my sister did come away with a love and appreciation of the city that captured my heart many years ago. As much as we promised ourselves we wouldn’t try to pack too much into our days we found it almost impossible not to add one more destination onto our itinerary… so much to see, so little time.
We left the city with many wonderful memories and I treasure them even more now that the world has changed and I’m not sure when, or if, I’ll be back. Hopefully I can hold steadfast to the belief that the more things change, the more they stay the same and continue to believe in Audrey Hepburn’s words, “Paris is always a good idea”.