"the diary of a non-parisian" by Saffron Maeve

May 6, 2017

The last time I visited Paris, I was taken aback by the reality of it all. We are so exposed to media that perpetuates this romanticized image of France that I was expecting the complete opposite from the city. I owe the mass media an apology. The second I stepped off the plane, I felt magical, as odd as that may sound. This feeling followed me from the baggage claim to the taxicab to the streets outside my hotel.

The boutiques, the cafes, the garden rooftops were all enchanted. With what, I still don’t know. I was seeing normal things in an ethereal way. Evidently, I spent the first day stuffing my face with macarons, croissants, and cheese platters. Being a French speaker, I was very comfortable in the city. Opening my mouth and having French pour out felt a thousand times better in Paris than it did at home. There were too many experiences from this trip for me to talk about, so I can sum up my favourite part of Paris in one word: walks.

Funnily enough, walking around the city was the best part of my experience. I walked the blocks near my hotel early in the morning, at noon, and at dusk. I walked from my hotel to Notre Dame. I walked across le Pont des Arts. I walked through Chateau Versailles and grazed my hands along the walls of Marie Antoinette’s bedroom. I walked to cafes, bistros, monuments, parks, and concert halls. My friends were pretty shaken when they asked “What was your favourite part of your trip?” and I responded with “walking” like an idiot. But the truth is, walking around Paris was the best experience of my life. We walk everyday and think nothing of it. It felt amazing using such a typical human action to go from place to place, with unlimited independence. It was all just there, waiting for me to walk to. With every step, I inhaled the soft, sweet air and exhaled any worries I may have subconsciously brought with me. Simple things like lampposts covered in local ads and flower stands made me smile bigger and brighter than anything at home could. This trip is my most treasured memory and I adore it. Paris is more than a city of intertwining roads and back to back cafes; it is a mindset of happiness. I hope everyone can find their own Paris.

*click here to listen to Saffron's playlist that accompanies this post*