Sunday, April 3, 2016

Parisian Perfection




In light of the last few months, I have been thinking about the “City of Lights,” Paris. The terrible past actions of a few have made a reflection on one of the truly great and wonderful cities of the world. I am going to talk about some of my favorite places and some of my daily habits during my 8 months in the French capital. This is for the people of this city amongst cities, this “City of Lights.”

I lived in the “Concorde Hotel,” 40 Rue du Commandant Mouchette. It was a business hotel with all the usual amenities. Nothing special. It was however on the street which if you followed turned into the major path through central Paris, the Champs Elysees.  The street, as you walked down, was full of wonders. World famous shops and restaurants filled either side and wandered to its most popular tourist points, the Arc de Triomphe and further up the street, the Louvre. It seems I had lucked out again!
One of the many street cafes in Paris. My dog Paeffgen and
I would spend many hours engaging in the Parisian's favorite
pastime, "People Watching."
The hotel was a perfect launching point as it had not only location, but a Metro station in its lower level. I could travel anywhere in the city or even the country from this place of embarquement. My days usually began with a breakfast walk with my little dog Paeffgen. If you couldn’t tell by his name, Paeffgen was a little Dachshund (German) and not the most popular breed in the city or country. Paeffgen peed in all the finest places and establishments in the world. But I digress. We would leave the hotel head for our favorite coffee shop a couple of hundred meters down the street. We would sit at an outdoor table on the street and be greeted with the usual indifference. After 10 or so minutes I would receive my coffee (the best cup $5 could buy) and a fresh croissant which I would share with my greedy little sidekick. I would read the paper and people watch (the favorite sport in Paris) and Paeffgen would nap in the sun occasionally pausing to bark at the passersby. After a couple of hours, we would return to the hotel and I would begin my exploration of the city.



This was my bridge, "The Love Bridge." You and your love would
bring a lock and attach it to the bridge and throw the key into the
river to ensure your undying love and commitment. Ah, Paris!!
As I wandered through the city, street by street, I could see the allure that drew so many travelers and the love the citizens had for their home. The quaint buildings, the bustling avenues, and the charming cafes all set the stage for a relaxing adventure. I finally get to the Seine and see the fabulous bridges that I have heard about. I walk for hours trying to find the one I can call mine. Passing by the antique book sellers and the bric-a-brac stand stands adds to the charisma of the setting. Finally, I see it, the bridge that I have been searching for. I stand in the middle and take in the view. I wonder how many people have preceded me and how many others have called this their bridge?

The beauty of Paris comes to light at night. The Eiffel Tower draws you
closer with every glance. I love this "City of Lights!!"
As I continue along the river, I finally see the sight that has drawn millions of travelers to the city of lights, the Eiffel Tower. It stands in its magnificence in the heart of the city beckoning and welcoming the world. I arrive at its base and slowly absorb its grandeur. It almost feels like home as the I become totally engulfed in the moment.

Paris is a city that encompasses the feeling of unity and friendship. The people have a simple, but fervent, love of their city and country that lures you into wanting to stay forever. For the 8 months I spent in the city, there were always adventures to be found and experiences of a life time to be had on a daily basis. The food was superb and the people delightful and charming. I never grew tired of seeing the Eiffel Tower or visiting the Musee d’Orsay and its wonderful works of art. Paris is a place to feel alive!

Paris is a place of wonder and hope. It beckons to all that have seen her to return. The people are friendly and will help a traveler in need share the splendors of their home. They have a spark in their eyes and pride in their hearts. It is a city that must be seen and explored on foot to be able to see all of its culture and nuances. It cannot be seen in a day, a week, a month or a lifetime. The city is a lifestyle unto itself and calls me back to this day.
As with every country, it is only proper to try and understand the people and the language they speak. Go to Expatfocus.com and check out the blog section for stories from the people who live and work in the region. Seek out the services of good language school such as Berlitz before you leave on your adventures. It will open doors to the world seldom seen by tourists and endear you to the locals. Safe travels!!!