It is imposable to deny that Paris is the most photogenic city in the world. A masterwork planned with brilliant city designing. A city that acted smartly and when urbanization and modernization were on the rise in the middle of the 19th century made sure to reinvent itself as a wide open modern city, all thanks to the brilliant planning of Baron Haussmann. With its massive boulevards and bustling plazas and squares, it allows a wanderer who just came out of a crowded alley to raise a surprised look at the next grandiose monument. Layers upon layers of both historical and material wealth that charm me every time.
There is something fun in retuning to a familiar place, a place that I explored countless times. The pressure to see everything in time isn't as high. I hoped (and I believe that so did my husband) that I will allow myself to enter a state of lazy calm. In practice, I was charmed again and we found ourselves wandering around the city from dusk till dawn this time as well, because this city is simply huge. In the end of every beautiful street is another beautiful street, which ends in a plaza, through which passes a boulevard, and next to the boulevard a river runs, and on the other side of the river is a garden, and so on and so forth… and I will never be able to see them all, but maybe we could just pick around this corner…
It is imposable to not be stunned by the style dripping from everything here. Slim and meticulously dressed women walking with their well kept dogs, well dressed men who enjoy checking themselves out when passing by a window, and the most inspiring elders than walk the streets in an impressive and surprising appearance.
Paris is the most toured city in the world. Wherever you look and wherever you may turn you will find another ten tourists holding an eyewitness book in their hands. I have no idea why the Parisians are often thought to be anti-social and rude. I most mention than this time as well, we ran into countless good-natured strangers that went out of the way to help and guide, and even stopped and waited with their cars when I stepped on the street to try and take a photo (something that will never happen here in Israel…).
Things which are currently hot in Paris:
Men with pants/brimmed hats/scarves/shoes in a fluorescent peach shade, sometimes combining more than one option together. I know that this is kind of contrasting the statement above regarding the eternal style… but it seems to be a hit right now (Why…?).
Mustaches, with and on everything, on clothes, tools, packages, bakery products, as well as textile.
Roaring models with their mouths wide open, on commercials and posters. They are probably just hungry and hope that someone will throw them something to eat…
Alexander III's bridge is the most splendid of the bridges over the Seine. It connects the Petit Palais museum (above) and the Dome Cathedral (below).
Under the bridge, as I comfortably sink in a chair with a glass of wine in my hand and listen to a saxophonist playing Bossa Nova nearby, a young couple, who appeared to be taking a lunch break together from work or school. I didn't hear them, only watched the body language of two young lovers. How she listen to him with her whole body, how he does is best to impress her. A sweet and extremely romantic scene, as 'Paris' as it gets. I also came to the conclusion that if you're hungry, a baguette sandwich is not a very good option for a first date, far too many crumbles….
I have special sentiments to the Le Marais district. A few years ago we exchanged houses and got the opportunity to live for almost a month in an amazing apartment in what I think is the most amazing apartment in Paris. The district is crowded and intensive, young and full of flavors, with countless boutique shops, coffee houses, galleries and restaurants.
The neighborhood is "gay friendly", not to say "gay ruled".
And you are not mistaken; those are indeed penis buns in the neighborhood's patisserie-boulangerie.
All you need is comfortable shoes and the time to "sew" beck and forth all the streets and alleys of the district, because in every corner a pearl is hidden. Some of my favorite places are:
The hidden garden of the national archives, Rue des Archives.
The excellent ice cream shop 'Pozzetto', and right next to it the sweet pancake shop 'Miss Cupcake'.
'Coton Doux' is a shop for wild and exotic shirts, for both men and women. Among all the textural and colorful shirts, amazing shirts can be found.
The charming shop, 'Les Mille Feuilles', is worth a visit. You can find in it lamps, furniture, mirrors, sculptures and other items you would want to take home with you. The site, by the way, (in the link) is really disappointing and doesn't show the qualities of the shop.
On the Rue Chapon street is a large amount of wholesaler shops for leather bags. Some of them refuse to sell single bags, but in others the Asian salespersons will happily sell you their wares (in cash). Anyone with enough patience and sharp eyes can find real treasures.
'Felex' is a four shops designing empire that resides in one alley. You could find there almost any fashion item that you ever saw in any abroad fashion blog, including Laps, furniture, gifts and more, the coolest and most "proper" items. It is the perfect place to find gifts.
The next post is about good food and good taste in the most beautiful city in the world, and till then I will leave you with the immortal words of Jean Cocteau, which I believe summarize the charm in the best way.
In Paris, everybody wants to be an actor; nobody is content to be a spectator. -Jean Cocteau