My love affair with Paris began when I was 15 years old.
I had an unforgettable high school French teacher who rounded out her lessons of the complexities of the French language by seducing us with stories about the food and culture of France, and of course, Paris. During one exam we were tested on our knowledge of Parisian monuments by having to identify twenty or so numbered points scattered on a blank map of the city. If we needed extra credit, we could earn it by going to see French films or making croissants.
Because of her I fell in love with France. And especially Paris.
I finally got there on a student tour when I was 16 and sadly, it didn’t take long for the bubble to burst. The combination of jet lag, culture shock, a rainy, tourist jammed Champs-Élysées, dismissive waiters and dismal student tour meals all tarnished my romantic, teenage vision of the city.
Several years later I returned to Paris. This time I was older and wiser, had a better grasp of the French language and a greater respect for this charismatic and sometimes challenging city. Our love affair was back on track.
Twenty five years later it continues to blossom and I relish every moment we have together.
10 Reasons why I love Paris:
1) My favorite way to start a day in Paris: breakfast of tartines (baguette slathered with butter and jam) and un café crème.
2) The Canal Saint Martin in the 10th is a picturesque place to take a stroll, ride a bike or have a picnic. Quirky boutiques, restaurants and cafés abound in this neighborhood.
3) Paris is full of surprises! I turned a corner one afternoon on my way to the Jardin du Palais-Royal and stumbled across an impromptu classical concert taking place in a small square.
4) A quiet corner of Paris. The Jardin du Palais-Royal is a peaceful spot to sit and rest your tired feet.
5) One of the ubiquitous images of the city, le Cathédrale Notre-Dame. It always seems to be surrounded by crowds of tourists, but it is a must see!
6) A beautiful and romantic walk along the banks of the Seine.
7) da Rosa in the Latin Quarter is a tiny Spanish épicerie and deli which offers Spanish hams and cheese, simple salads, and a handpicked selection wines from Spain, France and Italy. On a sunny day, try to grab a table on the terrace, and after your meal don’t forget to check out the intriguing selection of wine, vinegars, condiments and spices for sale.
Address: 62, rue de Seine 75006 Paris
Métro: Mabillon or Saint-Germain-des-Prés
8 ) After soaking up art and culture at le Musée du Louvre, head upstairs to the Café Richelieu. The terrace offers a sensational view of la cour Napoléon and the Pyramid.
Address: Musée du Louvre, 93 rue de Rivoli 75003 Paris
Métro : Palais-Royal-Musée-du-Louvre
Website: Restaurant de Rosa
9) One of my favorite places to taste cheese is the Fromagerie Chez Virginie. The owner is a passionate, third generation Maître Fromagère/Affineuse who specializes in raw milk cheeses produced on small farms all over France. The selection never fails to impress, and I think this is a must visit in Paris for any cheese lover.
Address: 54, rue Damrémont 75018 Paris
Métro: Lamarck – Caulaincourt
10) Sunset glowing on classic Haussmannian buildings. An enchanting view of Paris.
About the Author/Photographer:
Jennifer Greco is a life-long Francophile who has called a small village in the south of France her home for almost 7 years. She writes about life in France, cooking and French cheese and wine in her blog, Chez Loulou, which I recently rated as one of the best Paris blogs. She visits Paris every chance she gets!