The name “Paris” conjures up all kinds of romantic thoughts and feelings. Are these notions just the stuff of movies, or does real life Paris live up to its reputation? I decided there was only one way to find out, and that was to visit the city in person.
My husband, two-year-old daughter, and I went to explore the City of Light during late May and early June. My 18 year-old niece also tagged along on our adventure which gave us the opportunity to see Paris through the eyes of three different age groups.
In many ways Paris is just like any other city. You’ll find lots of shopping of every variety (clothing, fine wines, unique gifts, etc...). There is a great deal of ethnic diversity which adds to the cultural interest of the city. There are plenty of dining options for every palate (fine dining, ethnic, crepe stands, food carts, sidewalk cafes/brasseries, etc...).
Along with all the positives, there is the not-so-pleasant side of Paris. These includes large crowds, loud traffic, pickpockets, beggars, and the occasional crazy person on the subway - just like any other large city.
There are some things about this place and its people that make it distinctly Parisian. The overarching theme I picked up on our visit is that everything is a work of art. From the particular care with which women (young and old) dress simply to go to the market to the arrangements of sweets at the patisseries (so beautiful they make you sigh), to the architecture (ancient and modern) - it’s all appealing to the eye. And the lights...so many beautiful lights, I can see where it got its nickname. A nighttime cruise down the River Seine will leave you with a lasting memory of the city for sure.
So do I think Paris lived up to all the hype? Perhaps “La Vie en Rose” applies to my view of the city, but I would have to say it is a place every bit as romantic as you would expect…and so much more.
If you haven’t been, find a way to go. You won’t regret it.
There is so much to see, I feel I must return again and again.