It’s funny how many people automatically assume that the only destination Scotty and I spend any time in during our French holidays is Paris.
I guess it makes sense. Paris is spectacular, coveted and, for so many of us, somewhere towards the top of our bucket lists. The City of Light has cast her spell on lovers, creatives and travellers alike for just about as long as anyone can remember.
Interestingly though, we’ve barely spent any time at all in Paris in recent years.
That last sentence probably seems somewhat ridiculous, I know. How do you visit France and NOT devote a decent amount of you trip to Paris?
But we seem to manage it relatively easily. By way of example, last year we were lucky enough to enjoy near on five weeks in France yet we stayed only one night in Paris. And that was simply because we couldn’t get a train connection between London and the French side of the Alps.
However, despite the fact that we don’t always include the iconic French capital on our travel itinerary, the appeal of Paris never seems diminish.
And like a Siren, she calls us back. That’s especially true for me. I can never go too long without a dose of Parisian magic. Right now I’m literally counting the days until our next Parisian jaunt.
What is it about Paris that intrigues and inspires so many of us?
Well, while I can’t speak for every francophile, I’m happy to share everything about Paris that keeps drawing me back. And there’s plenty. But I’ll keep it to my top ten, because you probably don’t have all day to read this post!
The Enduring Appeal Of Paris
The Colour Palette
I’ve written about the ‘Parisian Palette’ many, many times. The stones and the slates. The sands and the charcoals. And of course, the terracottas and the russets. The colours are all incredibly elegant and endlessly enchanting. Primarily neutral, they are found everywhere across the city. As a result, they provide the perfect backdrop for all the fun that Paris has on offer.
It’s probably got something to do with me spending almost two decades trailing around behind a photographer (who is excited that I’m finally getting more serious about my own photography), but I’ve become super aware of light. And the thing about Paris is that the light is always great. No matter the season, the weather or the time of day, somehow Parisian light is always intriguing.
It might be that I’m a big fan of congruence and alignment, however I find the consistency of Parisian architecture just beautiful. Yes, I know that this consistent look resulted from the fact that Baron Haussmann tore down large portions of the original, organic Paris. But the buildings he had built following his demolition act set the tone for the Paris that we all know and love today.
There is no doubt about it. Paris is one sensationally stylish city. You don’t need me to tell you that. It is widely understood that Paris is one of the most fashionable locations in the world. This makes Paris a perfect city for people watching. Inspirational outfits. Excellent styling. Fabulous hair. Exceptional grooming. You’ll see all of this and more in the passing Parisian parade.
The Feminine Essence
You might not have expected me to come up with this appealing element of Paris. But while men love her, Paris is definitely a city that allows women to tap into all things feminine. Everything we associate with feminine energy – creativity, intuition and even just being become heightened in Paris.
Paris oozes history. And it is present just about everywhere. In the streets, the buildings and in the multitude of museums. While the Louvre is a must see, don’t underestimate the power of Paris’ historic gems. These smaller museums are traveller friendly (that is, they won’t completely exhaust you) but will give you an excellent taste of French history.
Paris has a vibe about her. Personally I think of it as a mix of Parisian chic meets excited traveller. And I love it.
Paris is definitely a city where, if you happen to end up footsore, you probably won’t be sorry. Paris was made for the flâneur and the flâneuse with her wide boulevards and relatively flat terrain. I highly recommend walking as far and as often as possible. It really is the best way to take in the best Paris has on offer.
I adore Parisian cafés. Mostly due to the chairs. I simply love Parisian café chairs. But also for the zinc bars. And the Parisians who stand up at those bars to down their coffees. Nothing else to say.
Does including shopping as one of Paris’ most alluring features make me materialistic or superficial? I think not. Even window shopping in Paris is a sensory experience. The quality. The carefully curated range. The legendary French brands. It’s fun at the very least and life changing at the other extreme. Remember to say ‘bonjour’ as you step over the threshold and your excellent experience is almost guaranteed.
Are you like me? Do you find the appeal of Paris endlessly enduring? If so, I’d love for you to share what you adore about Paris in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
Looking for more French inspiration? Then don’t miss the #AllAboutFrance Linkup over at the Lou Messugo Blog. Click this link and you’ll discover a diverse range of blog posts all about France.