Paris was the first place I ever went to alone, back in September 2008 for five days. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to go at the time, but I have since put it down to my natural instinct for adventure. I can’t remember too much about my stay on that occasion, apart from having dinner with a random geriatric American couple from Florida, who were put on my table in a crammed restaurant. They had an apartment in the city centre and had been visiting the city of love for years. The gentleman did not speak a single word during dinner, I think his wife was glad of my company and conversation.
When myself and Jenna first arrived there at the end of May 2009 for the first stop on our Eurotour, I was excited to see the city again, and with a companion this time. There was one place that stuck out in my memory as a special location in Paris. Over the River Seine, there is a little pedestrian bridge which can be found next to an exit from the courtyard behind the Louvre. The first time I came across this was on my solo trip; it was a Saturday night and the bridge was packed with picnicking Parisians. Red blankets, candles and half empty bottles of wine were scattered amongst the crowd, buzzing with emphatic and semi-squiffy conversation. It was possibly the most romantic scene I had ever encountered.
Sadly, on my trip with Jenna, this was not recreated. We did, however, sit on the bridge for a few hours on our first day admiring our surroundings.
The obligatory visit to the Louvre was made, for the third time in my life. I myself don’t find the Mona Lisa particularly inspiring, especially when she is harangued by tourists and their flash bulbs. Personally, I find the Venus far more mesmerising. I understand there a mystery behind Mona’s smile, but to me the mystery of where exactly Ms de Milo’s arms are blows my mind. Corroded at the bottom of the sea somewhere is, I’m sure, the answer. But still …wow.
The Centre Pompidou houses the Museum of Modern Art, so well worth a visit if that’s your thing. Obviously the expeditions change every so often, but I vividly remember a few feminist pieces myself and Jenna enjoyed, including framed pictures of models and the used face wipes it took to remove their heavy amount of makeup and some shock statistics about the occurance and use of women in art and galleries.
If art isn’t your thing at all, I would suggest going to the Pompidou anyway because, if he’s still rocking it up there, you will find the best (and by that I mean most awful yet hilarious) street entertainer I have ever seen. Making the leotard look cool, this fella used fans and every extremity of his body (nearly…) to create a show he seemed to only really be doing for himself, head down and brow furrowed with concentration. He was always wearing headphones, playing, we imagined, either the Star Wars theme tune or the Lord of the Rings audiobook.
I’ve been to Paris three times now, and I still feel that there is so much I haven’t seen. The vision of a beautiful dark haired modelesque man wearing red trousers, a striped top and riding a bicycle is alone a reason to return. Some parts do seem a little dusty and humid, especially in the hot summer months it can sometimes feel close and stuffy. But what can you expect from a place so huge and happening? When I head back to the city of love I’m sure you’ll find another post on it’s darker side.
However, I feel like it is something I can forgive of Paris. I will definitely be going back again and again to thoroughly explore this city and it’s capability to make you feel chic, elegant and dizzy with love.