Firstly, this was possibly one of the most spontaneous trips I have ever taken.
Ryan Air presented me with a ten euro flight too and from Paris, and I could not resist.
We stayed in an Air BnB in the middle of the Latin Quarter in Paris. The first thing that came as a shock was the lack of people speaking Italian. (I mean, I knew I was going to Paris, but It was still a shock). Suddenly I found myself unable to communicate to people in Italian or English. This was a moment in which I regretted not concentrating in French lessons more back in School. (Robert Pallister and Cole Newton if you are reading this, I blame you).
So I spent my first morning in Paris trying to remember how to say basics in French. The amount of times I apologised or thanked someone in Italian whilst in France was a joke.
My second observation, sadly, was the amount of homeless people. The River Seine and outwards towards the student area of Paris was strongly populated by homeless immigrants, unable to speak French.
I saw so many families, with young children cuddled up on the ground next to busy roads, begging for money. Some would sleep next to air vents on the ground for warmth. I can’t pretend it didn’t break my heart. Seeing people in situations like that really does put things into perspective.
Shakespeare and Company; 37 rue de la Bûcherie
I must admit Paris moved me a bit more to inspiration in comparison to Venice. I came across an amazing little book shop called ‘Shakespeare and Company’. The building was incredibly old, consisting of two floors, the top was a library of old books which had old arm chairs and type writers for the public to use. The first shelf i spotted as i went in was filled with F.Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway novels, and I knew instantly I would love the book shop. Each shelf even had its own set of sliding ladders so that you could reach the books on the higher shelves. My favourite aspect was how english the whole shop felt, I could have been in York, or Durham back in England.
(Quite a lot of Paris felt like home, at times I could have been in London or even Newcastle. – oh City life I have missed you)
They also had a large mirror on the wall on the top floor which was covered in post-it-notes and letters. Next to the mirror was a little box filled with paper and pens labelled ‘Lonely Hearts and Missed Connections’. Most of the notes on the mirror were quotes, and a few crumpled up letters dedicating love to lost loved ones. Some of the posts were in Chinese, Russian, not just English or French. So I decided to write a little post myself. A phrase my grandma always used to tell me and my cousins came to mind instantly.
‘The Grand Essentials of Happiness; something to do, someone to love and something to hope for’
So I wrote it down, and posted it on the mirror with her name.
This kind of thing may not be for everyone, but I love things like this, and it made my mum very happy to know I had done it.
We visited other key attractions such as;
- The Louvre
- The Palace of Versailles (in which I had to take a selfie in the’Hall of Mirrors ‘obviously)
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- The Eiffel Tower
- Luxembourg Garden (in which there was a medici fountain)
However, the highlight was by far stumbling across a very typically french patisserie and bakery and having a freshly made almond Brioche.
I guess sometimes it’s the simple things in life that really make you happy.
Its funny, out of the whole four days in Paris, and all the historical sites and museums I visited, I enjoyed the book shop and the freshly baked brioche the most. I did also find a Starbucks (there are non in Italy) and for the first time EVER the barista spelt my name right ‘Elly’ not ‘Ally’ or ‘Ellie’.
Surely this is a sign? Perhaps this is the next country I will try to live in!
(sorry Dad if you read this hehe)
Thank you Paris, despite your intense airport security, I really did fall in love with you.