1. The Boulangeries
Not for the celiacs unfortunately – and the people who decided to make a trend out of an allergy – sorry … I don’t understand how only the French have truly mastered how to make baguette, pretty and delicious pastries and on top of that eat them on a daily basis while staying slim (for the most part).
I love mornings when I put my shoes on as soon as I wake up and head downstairs (whilst in my PJs, yes) and walk in the boulangerie at the corner of my street to buy breakfast. There is nothing sweeter way to start the day than by being hit by the smell of fresh bread and everything buttery. However, to be a true Parisian, you cannot wait to get home to start your baguette; you first eat the quignon (the end bit), then a second piece, possibly a third… you’ll spread butter and jam on the other half once you get back.
2. Goûter and Apéritif
Two extra meals us French have invented to have two more reasons to gather and eat between lunch and dinner. I love treating myself in the middle of the afternoon to a slice of cake or something smothered in nutella. My friend Sarah baby sits children and told me about that one day when the girls she looks after discovered there weren’t any madeleines in their goûter box: the tears in their eyes as they thought they were going to miss goûter… I guess I’m still a child! A child who will love a drink to accompany apéro, naturally. Growing up, apéritif was always a very sacred moment in my family, and I always enjoy pre-dinner delicious snacks while I am in Paris: I cannot wait for summer evenings when the “quais de seine” are overflown with Parisian enjoying softer sun rays while sipping rosé along with savoury treats.
3. The river Seine
Which brings me to my next point: there’s a part of me who’s in love with the Seine… My favourite things to do in Paris mostly revolve around the river that splits the beautiful city in half. I’ll find any excuse to walk along the river even if it increases my journey. Sometimes, I almost shed a tears just staring at it: I swear it changes colour! Some days it’s blue, others turquoise, grey or greenish but I love it most at night… When you truly grasp the meaning behind the name “la ville lumière” as the water reflects the street lights.
4. Getting around easily
Paris is so easy to get around… it always makes returning to London difficult. It’s the perfect size! I can walk almost everywhere I go (unless it’s pouring rain) for less than thirty minutes and it’s always a great way to get some exercise in while gazing at the beautiful architecture, passing pretty shops and cafes or stumble upon impressive monuments dotted around the city.
If it turns out I can’t walk, I just hope on a bus and I’m almost guaranteed to be on time because most buses drive on REAL bus lanes and thus you cannot be stuck in traffic. Something incredibly logic with Transports For London has yet to understand… To top that, people say “bonjour” to the bus driver, and they will say hi back! There isn’t that hate relationship between the bus driver and the bus riders like the one we have in London where they close the doors as soon as possible and laugh at you with contempt as you just missed your bus after a 500m sprint. Not in Paris! If they see you run in their mirror, they will wait for you, or even open the doors at the nearest red light! As for the metro, it seems my London Tube curse has not followed me to Paris… yes it’s smelly but it runs ever 2 to 4 minutes, it is quick and it works! All of this means I never have to leave my home more than 40 minutes ahead, unless I’m heading somewhere outside of Paris and I love that!
5. The sparkling Eiffel Tower
Finally, not just my favourite thing in Paris, but probably my favourite thing in the whole world. If I’m ever out at night, I will check my timing is right so that I can pass by the Eiffel tower when the clock is on the hour and stare at it sparkle. I’ll just stand there, wherever I am, while I get Goosebumps from this beautiful silent firework that I feel I have all for myself, wondering if this moment isn’t just part of a dream and if I really do live in the most beautiful city of the world.
Let me know in the comment below what are your favourite things about living in Paris, or whichever city you live in! I would love to know.