Paris; silent streets at dusk, slowly falling rain. Grey slanted rooftops, balconies and chimneys winding, reaching, stretching into the air. White, grey, beige. Tiny stairwells, tiny rooms, tiny windows. So much in such small spaces, a perfect implosion.
It all sparkles, just like they say. Musical, the chatter in French of the walkers, of the police sirens, of the night rising and falling, entering through the open window.
Is there anything more surreally romantic than lying in the grass under the Eiffel Tower, eating a baguette and drinking rosé on a sunny day? Even the sun shines brighter in Paris.
There is too much to say about one sip of champagne on a summer night in the open evening air under a lit up Eiffel Tower. About that exact moment, on the hour, when it glitters – like clockwork, sunrise, sunset, and summer.
Paris was a sliver of calm for me in a chaotic week. The magic and miracle of the Eurostar, of stepping off a train into another world. I had been here before in 2010 to visit my friends who were studying abroad, and we did all the main touristy things and nothing more. This was the first time that I really saw Paris, felt it, could begin to get a sense of its arrondissements and storybook streets.
We arrived very late on a Wednesday evening and retrieved the key for our perfect hotel-apartment at Les Patios du Marais. It was a tiny room, up four flights of stairs, with a bitty kitchen and classic Parisian rooftop view.
Thursday was for wandering. First, an early run along the Seine River, up with the before-work joggers. Then, walking. From Île de la Cité through the beautiful flower show, past a perfect rainbow wall of hydrangeas, to the now roofless Notre-Dame Cathedral, inside Shakespeare and Company to browse the books. We had croissants and crêpes on the patio of a classic café and watched people pass. Walked to Jardin du Luxembourg, where the children were playing with the sailboats in the pond, walked to the military school to sit outside at another café for a late lunch before finding our way to the nearest grocery store for rosé, baguettes, and cheese. We sat outside, in the park beneath the Eiffel Tower, eating and drinking in the sun.
It was late afternoon when we began the return journey to Marais to find food from the market for dinner. That night, we were going to Dîner en Blanc, a spontaneous pop-up all-white dinner at a to-be-determined location with 10,000 people from all over the world. It’s an annual Parisian summer tradition. Attending Dîner en Blanc requires that you bring your own food – and table, chairs, china, table cloth, table decor, etc. For our meal, we bought pasta dinner from an Italian vendor at the market in Marais, along with cheese, wine, bread, and pastries from various other local shops. Then, a quick stop at home to change into all white before heading to a location near the Louvre to pick up our pre-ordered table and chairs before meeting our group at Palais-Royal.
Our Dîner en Blanc experience brought us to the Jardin des Tuileries (well, just outside of them, since the guards shut the gate on the large group). It was all a bit chaotic, to be honest, but the food was good, and the night was beautiful.
I remember walking home along the Seine, after midnight, feeling very alive. It was all gold and glitter. As magical as I remembered it; as magical as it will always be.
When: June 2019
How long: 2 nights
Via: Eurostar train from London St. Pancras International station
Stayed: Les Patios du Marais