Two weekends ago saw Fran and I head to the city of love: Paris. Quite the appropriate place to spend our one-year anniversary. But did I fall in love with Paris? I wanted to, and hoped to, but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, mainly due to the anxiety-inducing hordes that roam the capital.
Regardless, there were some real highlights to the city. The first being a little surprise tour (courtesy of Fran of course) of the stand out places in one of my favourite films Amélie.
Strolling through Montmartre hand-in-hand felt like the romantic and pretty Paris I was hoping for. We started off at Sacré-Cœur, a prominent setting in Amelie, one which hosts the scene with the phone call and the little yellow arrows. Here we stocked up on bread, vegan tapenade, macarons, and crêpes at the food stalls, while taking in the view of the city. From there we strolled down to the famous fruit and veg shop from Amélie. (The one with that prick of a shopkeeper who Amélie truly screws over with her admirable wit and dark side.) Then it was down to Café des Deux Moulins where Amelie worked her magic and played cupid.
I have to admit: the hub of Paris is beautiful under the night sky. We got to see a snippet of the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre during the day, but both spots are stunning at night. Every evening (every hour on the hour) is when you’ll see the Eiffel Tower dazzle and sparkle, which in my honest opinion, is a little gimmicky. Five minutes later is when you see the iconic tower in all its glory, without those sparkling lights. The tourists were quiet again as they left our viewing spot, Trocadero. That’s when we could just stand there taking it all in.
I was much more impressed by The Louvre Pyramid though, which stood strong in all its modern confidence in the middle of the Palace grounds. The juxtaposition of the architecture is striking but I love it. It boasts confidence and stylistic flair in a city that still gleams the French Renaissance style despite the modern and urban turn that Paris, like most capitals, tend to take.
Overall Paris is a lovely city to visit but the swarms of people put a downer on the experience, which is a real shame.
Lessons learnt: expectations don’t always match reality, seeing major sites during the night as well as the day is well worth it, I could eat French baguettes all day every day.