Paris, oh glorious Paris, how I miss you. You are like a long distance lover, ready to take me back into your arms upon our long overdue reunion.
This time around I need a little more from you. I am looking for more of a commitment. I want to go beyond our casual relationship to something more deep and serious. I want to get to know all of your ins and outs. I want to get under your skin and find out what makes you tick.
I long to be enveloped in the mysterious embrace of your hidden, cobblestone streets and find myself lost and then suddenly found in some place unexpected or unanticipated.
I want to see the parts of you that most people never get to see; your dark secrets, your hidden wonders. I want to see what you are like when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning after a little too much to drink.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. I LOVE FRANCE, and Paris is the live, beating heart of this amazing country. I have been desperately craving another affair since I left last time. This time, though, I want to experience Paris less like a tourist and more like a local.
My 5 point wishlist for my next trip to Paris:
1) Learn how to dress like a Parisien: I would love to learn a little about how to dress like a Parisien. Sweat pants are a giant faux pas in France. Women get dressed up just to go to the market! In Paris, even jeans and a t-shirt somehow hanage to look classy (and I am SO all over the scarf thing!)
2) Expand my Language skills: I want to experience what it is like to have a conversation in French that is more complicated than just asking for directions or ordering in a restaurant. I have gotten pretty good at survival French, but I want to take my language skills to the next level. I really feel that if I pushed myself, one more trip to Paris would help to break some language barriers for me and that be a big boost to helping me to experience life like a local (a little French goes a long way in Paris to help soften the attitude of the locals to you.)
3) Shop for food like the French shop: Even though big chain “super marches” have moved into France, many people in France still buy their food fresh everyday (the American sized refrigerators that we have here are almost non existant in much of Europe, so many Europeans just don’t have the space to store a weeks worth of fresh food.) As a result, many people in Paris still stop at their local boulangerie (bakery) each day for bread, at the charcuterie (meat market) for meat, at the street market for fruits and vegetables, etc.
Fresh baguettes in France fill a long forgotten yearning of my soul. Thinking about all of the wonderful cheeses available in a Paris market makes my mouth water. I want a trip to the market to be more than just a quick stop one day in our sight seeing itinerary but a part of my daily routine.
4) Walk around at night along the Seine River and near the Eiffel Tower: Paris was originally called “the city of light” during the enlightenment because of the number of universities and enlightened people that lived there, but today, this title still fits because Paris is breathtaking at night. The Eiffel Tower is lit up like a beacon of beauty, drawing admirers from around the world. At night in Paris, the edges of reality become a little blurred and the city becomes an enchanted land full of romance and infinite possibilities (didn’t you see the movie “Midnight in Paris”?)
5) Linger lazily in a Paris cafe: The sidewalk cafe is as much a Paris icon as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Though it has become a little bit of an overused cliche in movies and the media, the Paris cafe is a huge part of everyday life.
A perfect day for me in Paris would include time for lingering over a glass of wine and a pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant) in a sidewalk cafe. Sitting in a sideawlk cafe in a normal Paris neighborhood, watching the river of humanity float by, will give you a real taste of what makes this magnificent city tick. As a side note, a fresh made croissant with chocolate is almost as close to heaven as I think I have ever come!
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