Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Is Paris the most romantic city in the world?

I'm currently reading Eloisa James's Paris in Love, a memoir of the year that that she and her family spent in Paris, and it's got me thinking about my own experiences with the city of love.  Well...  Experience.  Singular.  And unromantic.  (Though that's not to say Cath, that I'd have wanted to spend it any other way.  :P)

Having never been, last year my best friend from uni and I booked a hotel and popped across the channel for four days of museums, art galleries and much much food.

McDonald's has its own bakery!


I don't think I've ever walked so much in my life!  That's not say that it wasn't wonderful.  We hit all the major landmarks (Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees) and four major art galleries (the Louvre, Centre Pompidou, Musee d'Orsee and Musee d'Orangerie).  We meandered down winding streets and even rode a double-decker train.  (So cool!)

Yes, I took arty photos of Paris - it's practically expected!

As experiences go, it was incredible.  So many places that we'd heard and read about - all in front of us.

For me, however, my favourite part of the holiday was when we visited Shakespeare & Co - a little bookshop just a few minutes walk from Notre Dame on the Left Bank.When I was 15, my English teacher had described it to me in a vivid way that completely captured my imagination.  Renowned for being a hangout for Hemingway, Joyce et al in the 1920s, it now opens its doors to young writers and lets them sleep there for free, in return for working in the shop during the day.

The shop itself

It's been on my bucket-list for nearly 10 years and actually getting to go there ended up being a rather emotional experience - something that I'm a little embarrassed about - but incredible nonetheless.

So it's quite possible that Paris is the most romantic city in the world - films like Midnight in Paris and Before Sunset certainly seem to claim so - but I don't think it really matters.  I'll get to see it with a partner or a lover one day, but for now all I need is good company and the sun in the sky.  That'll do me.

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