the past week has not been an easy one. coming home from a dream holiday is always tough, but tougher has been coming to terms with the events of last week. however, now that the shock has started to subside, i have found solace in focusing on all of the wonderful parts of spending a glorious, warm november week in paris. #parisisaboutlife, after all, and you would be hard-pressed to find another city that is as vibrant as the city of light.
i took a trip with my mother to celebrate her milestone birthday in a place she has always wanted to visit, but as i arrived first, i had a full day by myself before she joined me and surprisingly, it was kind of nice having that one day by myself with only paris to keep me company.
after three years since my last visit, i remembered how frenetically people drive there and how everyone jay-walks… coming from the czech republic which, like germany, is a country where jay-walking is usually a no-no, it took some time for me to get used to… a firm difference between parisians and much of europe. i remembered how big boulangeries are to the french culture with at least one on every block! (now that i am back home, i long for those) how you will see people jogging at all hours… even in the dark, cold and rain. the sweet little hole-in-the-wall brasseries you can find even on the most unassuming of streets. how french is of course better but how most people do speak english and won’t get irritated if they have to speak it.
after spending about an hour in a grocery store gaping at all of the products and trying to find the milk, i took myself to a chinois tratoir to pick up some spring rolls and take them to the park in back of notre dame where i watched a childrens’ birthday party (relay races and hitting a piñata!) on a warm saturday evening. there was a palpable energy to the city. the seine sparkled as the sun set. even on my very first night, i realized how it is one of my most favorite of cities to be in; so lively and youthful.
below, a cheery leaf that fell on me in the park which is now pressed and displayed at home!
the next morning i did those normal things: picking up roses at a florist’s, a baguette at the boulangerie to take them to my little make-shift paris home. just that first day really set the tone for the rest of the week; just start to show how i would come to appreciate and love this city.
here are a handful of “heart sparkle” moments in the first few days(thanks courtney for aptly coining the term!)… beginning to experience paris not only as a poor, broke vagabond was so refreshing as i felt like i got to know the city beyond the aisles of a carrefour like last time.
a crêpe picnic in the park (paris demands as many picnics as you can manage). i love watching the cook craft the
crêpe, laying down the cheese and ham, cracking an egg, folding it just right.
an autumn walk through jardin des plantes, when you have to shuffle your feet through all the leaves… walking around without a sweater on in mid-november. it was the first thing my mom did in paris! what a wonderful walk with great company and perfect weather.
to wander the left bank and know where you are at almost all times. because the city will just gently nudge you along in the right direction, no map necessary.
sampling the famous berthillon gelato. i definitely thought that for
€2.50 a scoop, the ice cream would not be worth it but i was so wrong. i only tried the blackberry flavor, but it was probably some of the best i’ve ever had!
seeing sainte-chapelle close-up for the first time. realizing that each panel of the stained glass windows represents the stories from one book of the bible, meaning that the entire church contains the content of the entire bible. not only is a beautiful, but contains so many stories.
my first croque madame which lived up to all of my expectations. gotta try to replicate this!
one post cannot contain all of the wonder i felt, so part two is shortly on its way. what about paris gives you heart sparkles?