Bonjour from sunny Paris! Yes, the sun is actually shining on this February day… What a perfect way to welcome my first guest post! Today, Amy Hayes of Creatrice Mondial (a beautiful blog about travel, art, design and creativity) visits Adria in Paris to share some thoughts about the time she spent living in Paris. Thank you, Amy, for the lovely post and beautiful photos!
Favorite Thing About Paris
By Amy Hayes
The sequence is usually the same when people learn I lived in Paris for three years. First they ask, “Really?” (answer: yes) followed by “Did you just love it?” (answer: absolutely). Somewhere down the line comes this one, “What was your favorite thing about Paris?” What a loaded question!! Should I say seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle every evening? The charm of the little streets cutting paths through the arrondissements? Picnics along the Seine on a sunny Sunday afternoon? The people watching?
There are so very many little elements that make Paris… well, Paris. It’s the noise of the streets. The chatter in the cafes. Even the dreary gray in winter and the gorgeous light of spring and summer. Together, they combine to create a heady mixture, intoxicating visitors with that famous je ne said quoi. It’s being able to attempt to speak French. I hardly spoke a word when I first arrived, but after plenty of bungled pronunciations and repeated phrases, I learned. And I enjoyed it!
Perhaps the best thing about tackling the language and finally being able to communicate is that it started to break down that barrier between outsider and insider. I started to feel like I belonged, and could start to make more friends with the locals. Then I got to know the streets. Not just the main boulevards, but the tiny ones tucked away, with that random excellent cafe just on the corner. My local boulangerie became familiar, to the point where I hardly even needed to properly order. She would ask me, “comme d’habitude?” The usual? I loved that. After the 2-year mark, I was able to walk in a store and converse with the sales girl who didn't know I was foreign -she didn’t hear an accent in my speech. That was the best.
So the answer to this incredibly difficult question. My favorite thing about Paris would have to be that I was lucky enough to be able to scratch beneath the surface, and get to know her on a more personal level. If a weekend is all you need to be charmed, then any longer and you are sure to fall deeply in love.