My first night visiting you is almost always spent in the same way – climbing the Eiffel Tower. Some people may become disenchanted with the Iron Lady, but I simply can’t imagine a better way to catch a glimpse of all that makes you, the City of Light, so bright. I must admit, though, that the flocks of tourists can be a bit of a downer. As I scramble up all 1,021 steps, excited to be back, the sun is setting around me, so that by the time I’ve reached the second level the sky is imbued with a deep coral hue; though, not for long, as the sun bids adieu and you and your tower welcome me back with your bright lights. It’s just so beautiful, you always manage to take my breath away.
Thank you for giving me Le Marais – without a doubt, my favourite arrondissement, although I’m willing to allow this to change, as it means more time in your fair city! The Centre Georges Pompidou, Place de Voges, L’As du Falafel on Rue de Rosier (really, all of Rue de Rosier).
The entire Marais area is simply alive with culture and life. Thank you for introducing me to The Red Wheelbarrow (22 rue Saint-Paul, 75004, Paris). Of course Shakespeare and Co (in the Latin Quarter) is more famous, but The Red Wheelbarrow rivals it with its charm. Oh Paris, you seem to know the way to my heart – food. Is it that obvious? You tempted me with the best croissant I’ve ever had at Pain de Sucre (Rue Rambuteau). The tiny shop, run by 2 Michelin star chefs, is imbued with the vibe from the Pompidou, its nearby neighbour, while still having the charm of one’s local patisserie. If one wants a true neighbourhood patisserie/boulangerie, as opposed to one run by Michelin chefs – but why would anyone not want that? – you’ve given Le Marais the best of that too. La Fougasse (Rue Bretagne) was recommended to me by Parisians and it’s true what they say – you’d better get there before 8 or else there’s a queue around the corner! The best gallete and cidre I’ve ever had – once again recommended by Parisians, they are, after all, the best judges of their own city – was at Breizh Cafe (Rue Vielle de Temple). I couldn’t imagine why a reservation would be needed, as many people told me it would be, until I tasted the delicate buckwheat gallete, unlike any I’ve had before or after.
Paris, you will always be my first love.
Photography: Meghan Stevenson-Krausz