It’s easy to get caught up in the countless number of sights to see in Paris, from historical landmarks and museums to magnificent churches and monuments. But after you’ve visited the Louvre, been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, stood in awe of the incredible Monet and Van Gogh paintings in the Musée d’Orsay, and waited in line to climb Notre Dame, what’s left on the Paris list? Only the most enjoyable of all the Parisian pleasures: Walking.
During my most recent trip to Paris, I had the luxury of staying for two weeks- the perfect amount of time to start feeling less like a tourist and more like a Parisian. Thanks to Guest to Guest, a home exchange website that I would highly recommend, we had the opportunity to stay in the city center for FREE.
Although I had been to Paris before, it was during this trip that I completely fell in love with the city. I had time to slow down, stop rushing between the sights, and really settle into what daily life feels like in the French capital. And there’s just nothing quite like waking up to church bells and wandering around to find the perfect street café for a fresh squeezed orange juice and warm croissant.
We spent most of our days wandering, taking in the sights, smells, and tastes of Paris. It stood out as a very different kind of trip than I usually take. Instead of packing as many interesting locations as possible into our two free weeks, we decided to completely immerse ourselves in just one. But there’s never really enough time for Paris, is there? You simply cannot compare it to any other place in the world. So to give you an idea of what makes it so special, here’s a little glimpse into my two weeks in the City of Lights.
Taking in the Details
Paris is a city meant to be enjoyed slowly. It’s a city to savor with all the senses, full of wonderful little details that give it the very charm that makes it Paris. But these aren’t the kind of details you can find by paying for a ticket and waiting in long lines at top tourist destinations. These details cost nothing. They hide in the city streets, the café’s, and along the banks of the Seine. I’m talking about the tiniest and most easily overlooked parts of the city that you can only discover by exploring on foot.
The way the paint chips off a beautiful, centuries-old door, flower pots decorating a windowsill, and a stack of freshly baked baguettes… the booksellers with they’re dusty treasures that fill the kiosks along the Seine, the clapboard signs announcing the tempting specialties on the “menu du jour” and those oh so Parisian checkered chairs just waiting for guests outside every café. These are my very favorite parts of Paris.
All these little details tend to draw my attention (and my camera lens) the most when I’m traveling. And in Paris, they all add up to give the city the charm that travelers go there to find. Paris isn’t the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre or the Arc de Triomphe or the expensive shops on the Champs-Élysées. Paris is the life of its streets, its people and the way they enjoy their daily routine.
A Paris Gallery
I often found the beauty of Paris in the simplest things. From doors and windows to fresh fruit stands and street art, I couldn’t get enough. And while I have to say that I’m pretty much certain that people on the street were laughing at me as I took photos of things like the typical café chairs, I’m so pleased to have these snapshots to remind me of all the lovely details that seem to only exist in Paris.
So I’ll let my photos do the talking because I know they will do it best. As always, you can find many of them in my Etsy shop. If you’d like any that you don’t see there, just send me a message and I would be more than happy to add them.
Finally, if you’re into Paris photography as much as me, check out Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson, one of my favorite photographers and Etsy sellers. She shares my love of city details, so I couldn’t help buying a copy to look at along the Seine on my last day in Paris.
And while my time in Barcelona is far from over, I really do feel that I would love to experience the Parisian lifestyle and all of its simple pleasures one day in the future.