Paris. A place I’ve been before. Full of tourists who do or don’t know the French vernacular. Me? I don’t. I went with my sister, who got A* at both GCSE and A-Level in French, and it would shock me if she didn’t speak French, as she only completed her A-level a year ago. I don’t know how she did it. I don’t think anyone does.
In the attempt to escape the haphazard weather of the UK, we bundled ourselves onto the Eurostar, and went at over 300 km/h to the capital city of France. It took nearly two-and-a-half hours, but the sun shone stunningly as we pulled into Paris.
Here is a short story about my favourite places in Paris; they are recommendations to visit, and definitely the best places in the city.
It’s different; self-assured. A city of delight and mischief all in one. There is so much to find, yet so much that’s already been found.
Tour Eiffel; Notre Dame; Sacre Coeur; the list is endless. They have already been found, some of the busiest tourist attractions in the city. However, they are old news, now, in the year two-thousand-and-sixteen, and there are prettier places to visit more prettily. Passing by the Notre Dame, seeing the Sacre Coeur from a view, and the Tour Eiffel on the market stalls in small statues.
Le Marais. The district with perfection built into the pave stones. Every square-metre is a glitter bomb of lusciousness. She, the wannabe Parisian, visited the city in hope of escaping being the typical tourist from Britain. And, she succeeded, as she waltzed into the beautiful shop Merci, full of beautiful clothes, and beautiful stationary, beauty intertwined into the walls of the block.
She could spend hours combing through the clothes, spending euros and euros on the entire shop floor. And, buying the notebooks that scream at her for her writing, the work she does over the summer just begging to be written in the most notable notebook in Paris. She goes up to the till in a hurry with the basket of fifteen objects that warm her spirit into being the delight that is a Parisian, and then holding a Merci bag after she pays as she flounces out of the doors.
Oh, to quench her thirst would be lovely, she thought as she saw the small cafe just to the side of the shop she had just exited. The Merci cafe. Could this get any more wonderful? She perches herself into a comfortable armchair inside of the walls, stacked high with purchasable books, and glanced at the menu staring back at her on the petite table. Mint-green tea, she orders, speaking in French so they understand her as a Français woman, not an Anglais girl.
A teapot, a teacup, and a bottle of water with a mint leaf inside of it comes to her on a tray. Bonjour, says the different waiter, thé? Oui! she speaks back and says merci, and giggled after this, as she just said the name of the cafe. It wasn’t funny, but she had to keep herself mentally entertained.
She scrolled through her bag of gifts that she had just bought herself, and reached out a notebook that had a particular glow about it, and started journalling her time in Paris so far. Utterly praising Le Marais as she slurped down her mint-green tea and water almost simultaneously. She was more than happy to be surrounded by the joy she was in.
A twenty-minute walk and she reached Centre Pompidou. It was like a factory. The modern art gallery was modern art in itself. The magnificent piece of architecture shone as she stared from the outside just begging to be on the inside looking out. She walked with a bounce on the heels of her feet into the modern art piece, and showed her ID and scrambled onto an escalator. up, Up, UP, she climbed, three flights of escalators taking her to the beautiful view of Paris. There, she could see the Sacre Coeur, gawking back at her as gawked across to it. She felt as if she was right next to it, touching the spire, smelling the antique scent it has, seeing the tourists look like insects down below.
Gazing through the art at the likes of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Vassily Kandinsky. Their art was inspired, as different people looked at the paintings as if they understood the story behind each and every artwork, when in fact it was unclear. Love surrounded her in the Pompidou, as she traipsed down a floor to the contemporary art, as she saw glorious artwork by contemporary artists, and she gazed, amazed at their ability to shine through the Pompidou and out into the view of Paris; sitting in the most exquisite architecture she had ever seen.
Metro time, as she stepped down several flights of stairs into the undergrowth of Paris. People on their phones, playing games or texting without sending due to the lack of signal underground, as she leapt onto the metro train, which proved a lot more reliable than Southern rail in England. In a few moments she was back out in the fresh air, only a few steps from the Notre Dame. Not that she was there for the Notre Dame; she had seen it before. Oh, no. As she walked from the metro along the river, there was a beautiful market that took her feet off of the ground as if she could fly. Sifting through the artefacts as if they were ancient pieces of history. A lot of it was just small statues of the Tour Eiffel, or paintings of sights from afar. A sight from the Pompidou, for example; the everlasting memory of sitting on the Sacre Coeur as she delicately wrote what she was feeling down into her beautiful notebook from Merci.
The reason she strolled past the Notre Dame was to get to a place only known by bookworms, like her. Shakespeare & Company. Selling British books as if they were baguettes. Stacks and stacks of books piled high to beyond anyone’s reach; there were ladders that customers were accustomed to climb if there was a book out of their stretch but in their interest. A whole section dedicated to Hemingway, the fiction extending longer than a million arms combined. She spent hours in there, searching through which books caught her glance as she struggled to hold the basketful of books she wanted to buy, without a basket. It felt natural to be there, alongside many other customers who spoke the English language; not many who were French, which was ironic since she was in France.
Hemingway, Plath, McEwan, and more, she bought as if she had unlimited money and she was the world’s quickest reader, as if she had read them all before. Passionately, she spoke to the woman behind the counter about some of the books she was purchasing, exclaiming that she had a magnificent variety of books that were going to be a delightful read. I will undoubtedly be very antisocial for the next few months as I read these books, she said to the shop assistant in English, as they were English, and she chuckled and gave her a canvas bag that was perfect for the bundle of books she endeavoured in buying.
She stepped out of the shop and had an epiphany. Paris is the most beautiful place in the world; well, it has the most beautiful places in the world, which should be visited by everyone who adores the world of beauty.
I hope you enjoyed, and please visit the websites that have been hyperlinked as I think it will be wonderful for everyone to see these places.