Sunday, 15 November 2015

An Ode to Paris

This time last week I was in Paris. A city I love the most and a city where I have spent the happiest hours of my life.

My best friend has called the city his home for four years now and I can see why.

The city is not only aesthetically pleasing (what an understatement), with the cobbled streets of Montmarte, the elegant bridges joining the islands on the Seine and the landmarks of architecture that still make me gasp each time I see them as if it was the first time. No, Paris is so much more than the 'romantic' reputation it bestows. And it's the city's residents, who have a zest for life and for all the city offers, that makes the city my favourite place to be.

My photo of the Eiffel Tower from the Louvre on 7/11/2015

When I visit, which I am very lucky to do a couple times a year with a best friend living there, I feel so alive. No other city or place has made me feel as alive or welcome. You know when you start to feel down with your day to day life? Like when you feel like you do nothing but work and sleep? Well, the Parisians have conquered the work/life balance and just a few days in the city will put everything into perspective for you.

I normally arrive in Paris late on a Friday night and the city is brimming with activity, even in November. Cafés and restaurants are filled with friends catching up over a late delicious dinner, sharing a cigarette and enjoying the relief that the working week is over. Parties will be planned for the weekend - there is definitely no Netflix and chill in this city.

I have struggled with my self confidence over the years so with the reputation of Parisians being 'snooty' you would think it would be an intimidating place for me to be. The city has only built up my confidence. My best friend has formed friendships with many lovely people who I think I can now call friends of my own. They are always so warm, loving and genuinely pleased to see me back in the city. I feel happy that I can leave my best friend in the city surrounded by a fun and fabulous network of people.

Lunch for one.
I took this whilst me and my best friend had lunch in a favourite café on 5/11/2015

 I think the 'snooty' reputation has only been formed due to the fact that the French have the inner confidence we yearn for. The way they carry themselves in a confident manner, as if they have rolled out of their lover's bed, straightened their hair, splashed some water on their face and got on with their day. We Brits could learn a thing or two from them.

They also know what they want. If they fancy you, they will tell you. There are no games being played... They are direct and I love them for that. There is no worry that they will be turned down and if they are? So what? Life is too short after all.

Any man I have met in Paris tells me if I am only here for the weekend, what is the point in sleeping? I like that mentality. There is always a party to be had!  

The best party in Paris is at Rosa Bonheur, a little cafe and bar in the most beautiful park called Buttes Chaumont. It takes place on a Sunday night, when most of us would be curled up on the sofa waiting for the working week to begin. Instead the Parisians are out in force, dancing the night away and drinking beer together like tomorrow will never come.

Life is for living after all, and this sentiment has never been felt stronger than when I am at Rosa.

When I turned on the news on Friday night, I instantly thought of all the young people out on a typically bustling Friday night in Paris.

Sharing a bottle of wine and a crepe with my two best friends in Paris overlooking the Louvre 7/11/2015

I thought of my friends who may not be safe. I thought of that zest for life that had been extinguished from so many in one bullet or blast. They were defenceless and their future taken from then in seconds.

Museums, schools, markets all now closed. The freedom we take for granted, gone.

I understand that people's lives are being taken across the world each day in similar circumstances and these should be as acknowledged as Paris.

I can't relate to those places as much as I do with Paris and I think this is why people have reacted more passionately. It's not because we don't care less for those lives lost in places further afield. This time it was too close to home and an attack on places we freely enjoy.

I have had the numerous 'what if's' whirling round my mind. What if I had been visiting a week later, it could have been me? What if my best friend not had been out of town that day? It could have been him.

It was a reality for so many people, and their family and friends, and I think of them and I feel so much sadness.

Life is for living so don't hold back. Let's adopt that zest for life from our Parisian brothers and sisters, in respect to the many lives taken.

With love,


Ps. I will be back