Ah, Paris. The City of Lights, the City of Love, the city that never ceases to amaze and evoke wonder. Millions of people visit this inspiring place every year for reasons as diverse as they are. Some come looking for urban adventures, while others seek out rooftop lounges on which to sip champagne and gaze out at the city. Perhaps you, too, have imagined yourself peering up at the Eiffel Tower or looking out from its heights. Whatever the motivations for venturing to the French capital may be, the observant traveler cannot help but notice three things about Paris - these essential qualities provide insight into the Parisian way of life.
Steeped in history, but with a modern outlook
Paris was founded at the end of the 3rd century, which puts it at just over 1700 years old. With a timeline as lengthy as that, the city is bound to wear its history in its architecture. As you wander along the Seine River towards the First Arrondissement, to your left you’ll see the somber colors and Gothic architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral. To your right, you’ll find the vibrant-hued Centre Pompidou, a building with its structural supports and tube-like escalators on the outside!
The Eiffel Tower, the most recognizable monument in Paris, is in itself a linkage of the past and the present. Originally intended to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, it has now become a symbol of France and its modernity. Travelers will recognize in Paris a profound respect for history and tradition, but an equally strong commitment to innovation and forward-thinking.
A deep appreciation for art
A Paris without art is a fish without water; it cannot exist. Even when hurtling through metro tunnels, you’ll catch glimpses of sculptures at the Louvre-Rivoli stop or snippets of mosaics on the ceiling of Cluny-La Sorbonne. Wandering through the cobblestone streets of Montmartre, you’ll find artists capturing sunsets with their paintbrushes and musicians creating sonorous melodies with their picks and bows. Art is not something extra that is tacked on when possible; it is a manner of living.
Baked goods on every corner
Who can imagine a Paris without the boulangerie-pâtisseries? If you rise early and make your way towards your nearest bakery, you’ll be met with the sumptuous smell of bread being freshly baked and pains au chocolat bronzing in the oven. Even if you don’t awaken with the dawn, you’ll find plenty of cafés serving fresh pastries that you can enjoy on an elegant terrace.
Parisian food is meant to be savored. Meals are never rushed, and waiters will allow you to linger with friends hours after you’ve taken your last bite. In this respect, French culture encourages you to slow down and simply be present in the moment. Isn’t that what we’re all striving to do?
If you would like to get started on your own Parisian adventure, contact Life's Journey Travel!
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.