Even without a surprise proposal atop La Tour Eiffel on my last visit, the City of Light could be no less romantic. From grand boulevards to narrow, cobblestone streets lined with cafes, restaurants, and mansions of old reincarnated into shops and inner city apartments, there is no where else like it.
This time we took up residence in Saint Germain and made our way on foot, visiting new places and revisiting a few of our favourites.
The vast Musee d’Orsay needs more than one afternoon to fully explore its treasures, not least because the galleries begin closing a half hour before COB, unbeknownst to us. But we did manage to take stock of the extensive Impressionist collection.
On a similar scale is Père Lachaise Cemetery where it’s easy to lose your way amidst the thousands of monuments to people passed. I couldn’t help but wonder what Oscar Wilde would make of the lipstick kisses covering his grave, but Edith Piaff’s humble plot evoked more sombre thoughts on her life and work.
An hour train ride took us to the gilt Palace of Versailles, truly magnificent and itself a lavish monument to an era that is better left in the past. But we joined the crushing crowds to file through The Hall of Mirrors fitted with seventeen mirrors to match seventeen windows overlooking the gardens, and the various chambers and living quarters in all their golden brocaded opulence.
But it’s the everyday-ness that I enjoy the most, pausing on the bridges that span the Seine, the flower shops and cheese sellers in Marais, blossom-covered streets in Spring, Parisienne ladies with their well behaved pooches, sun-drenched city parks, hand-painted menu boards, scents both good and bad, tartine breakfast with a bowl of cafe o’lait.
Yes, I do love Paris.