It has been my dad’s dream to walk the camino to Santiago de Compostela (actually, the town is really just called Compostela :)). I wrote a bit about it here. His dream finally came true two weeks ago, and my mom and I were there to provide the moral support for his journey :).
Aside from cheering my dad on and a bit of R and R, there’s another reason for this recent trip to Europe, actually :). I was there to keep my mom company while my dad was on his pilgrimage. I had to keep her in line just in case she went a bit too wild with her credit card–hahahaha! Kidding :).
Our trip started in Paris, the city of lights.
*Sigh!* To say I love Paris is an understatement. Next to New York, it is one of my favorite cities in the world!
Everything about Paris is so terribly refined, elegant and romantic. I love the wide boulevards, the chic cafe’s, the beautiful people, and the majestic architecture. I also love, love, love the art! We have the French to thank for producing artists such as Claude Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne.
Here is my attempt to share with you some of the things I love about this amazing city. Although there are still many things to uncover and discover, Paris has definitely left its indelible impression on me, and it will forever be a place I will love coming back to.
1. Sidewalk Cafe’s
When I think of Paris, images of very chic people sitting in sidewalk cafe’s immediately fill my mind. It seems to be the quintessential place to pass time–sipping a cup of coffee, reading a good book, socializing, or just watching the world walk by.
Many of these sidewalk cafe’s can be found along Paris’ streets and boulevards. During our visit, we enjoyed whiling our time away at the Cafe de Flore on Boulevard Saint-German in the 6th arrondissement, and Le Select on Rue Montparnasse. Both cafe’s offer traditional french fare served any and all times during the day. When we were there, I had my fair share of club sandwiches, croque madames, lattes and eclairs. Simple, but very comforting food :).
And not only is the food good, but for some reason, I just love the feeling of being able to sit in a cafe, unbothered, just observing the people around me. The vibe is also very relaxed and it made me feel as if I had all the time in the world. Very different from the frenetic pace that I am usually used to :).
2. The Eiffel Tower
Paris has its share of historic monuments and breathtaking architecture. Ofcourse, one cannot leave the city without a visit to one of its most famous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower. In fact, every trip I’ve made to Paris included a stop and the requisite photograph here. I especially love it at night, when the lights are turned on :). It makes the tower look all the more awesome and breathtaking.
3. The Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees
Another well-known structure in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. It stands right at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, and is usually a starting point to walk down the Champs Elysees. Commissioned by Napoleon as a symbol of victory after the French Revolution, it is truly a beautiful and imposing structure. For a tourist, this is definitely not one spot to be missed!
4. The Musee d’ Orsay
While Paris is known throughout the world to be the home of the Louvre, my favorite will always be the Musee d’ Orsay or The Orsay Museum :). I can spend the whole day there getting lost amidst all the wonderful pieces of art!
Many of the works of my favorite artists are displayed there–the Impressionists, for example. Monet and Degas are like rock stars to me :). To be able to see their actual paintings with my own eyes is so nakaka-kilig talaga! It makes me feel really happy–giddy, almost–and inspired!
I also love that the Orsay used to be an old train station. I think it just makes the architecture of the building all the more interesting–from its facade to the interiors.
5. The Tuileries Gardens
The Tuileries is one of my favorite spots in Paris :). I find the gardens so beautiful, so relaxing, and so inviting. I love the colorful flowers, and the soothing sound of the fountains. It’s the perfect place to slow down, read a book, have a picnic, and enjoy the weather. It’s also conveniently located right next to the Louvre! Haaaay! I wish we had more parks like this in Manila. You would definitely find me and my family there every weekend, soaking up the sun and the tranquil atmosphere :).
6. Rue Saint-Honore and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore
I looooooove shopping in Paris! Parisians are known all over the world for their impeccable sense of style. The Rue Saint-Honore and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore are probably two of the most fashionable streets in the world, being the address of most of the global high-end brands.
Walking down the street made me feel like I was almost fashionable myself! Bwahahaha–NOT! Kidding aside, even though I know I could not hold a candle to the polished and sophisticated women shopping on Saint-Honore, being there made me a witness to the elegance and chic-ness of this city. I swear, everyone I saw just looked so wonderfully put together. *Sigh!*
So even if you may not end up buying anything here, to walk down Rue Saint-Honore and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore is quite a thrilling experience, especially if you are a shopper like me :).
Paris is the birthplace of the french macaron. This double-decker “biscuit” with a creamy ganache filling was invented and made popular by Laduree.
One of the items on my to-do list during this trip was to visit the Laduree shop, and sample its famous macarons. There was a long line when we got there, but I was determined not to leave without giving the original pastry a try.
To be honest, it didn’t taste any different from some of the other macarons I’ve tried here in Manila, but to be at the place where it all started, and to see the familiar celadon green colors of the store exteriors was still a nice experience :). I was charmed too by the interiors and the lovely colors of the macarons.
Again, it has such a different ambience from our local cafe’s and dessert places. I don’t know what it is about these French people, but they just know how to make things more delightful and enchanting!
So there you have it :). It’s not a complete list, but based on my 4 extremely short days in Paris, these are some of the reasons why this city has truly captivated my heart. I can’t wait to bring the H and the little miss here! And I am glad that there is still much more of Paris left for us to discover together.
I have no doubt that they will love it as much as I do :).