living a tale of two cities

I never thought I would I had been not one, not two, but four times in Paris. I would never thought I would hear from others after saying I was going to Paris the sentence “what, again?”

Not just because just 3 years ago I was broke and travel prospects were only a dream, but because my first time in Paris was only 4 years ago, and I didn’t like it one bit (with the exception of Disneyland, but that’s not really Paris or planet Earth for all I know…).

Yes, this was the fourth time and I’m not predicting going there any time soon. This time I went to show Paris to my parents who had never been a living testimony of that art deco metal structure, symbol of Paris, of France, la Tour Eiffel.

I could never see the magic everyone else seems to see in this city. I don’t want to come across as someone very snobbish. There are a few things I do enjoy about Paris. The abundance of art galleries and architectural styles to start with and to finish, the binge eating of baguettes, croissants and macaroons.

This was the fourth time I admired the Louvre from the outside – which could be a better experience than the inside – the museum is magnificent, but obviously huge, with its fame granted by the possession of Mona Lisa, a quite underwhelming painting, especially having in mind there is so much more to see. It’s is crowded and it can be a maze – I got lost multiple times when I went there.

But the outside… I find myself thinking about how our ancestors cared so much about how everything looked. How splendid it needed to be, how it needed to represent something. Something that we can trace back to a certain time in history, unveiling its significance.

We were very lucky with the weather this time. That last weekend of March, the sun was shining and the temperatures rose to 20 degrees celsius – uncommon. And so I took my parents to my favourite area of Paris – Montmartre.

I’m pretty much the only one remotely interested in art and museums in general in my family, so I was very glad we found such auspicious weather. We could be outside, walk the streets of Paris and get the real feel from the city. Plus, we could rest in the public gardens – which wasn’t actually so great. Gardens in Paris are not as green as I’d like – there is grasse you can’t step in, a few trees and bushes, perhaps some flowers. But the ground is made of white gravel – muddy in winter and dusty in summer. As it was, by shoes and my black pants became white, and by the end of the day I felt I had dust in my throat and lungs…

Still I tried to enjoy it. Afterall, I hadn’t felt the sun in my skin for a while. London is been pretty grey… or I am spending way too much time inside an office.

I also visited a part of Paris I had never been to – Place des Vosges, where you can find Victor Hugo’s house. We went very early on a sunday morning so I found the area quiet, but beautiful.

Not sure when I’ll be in Paris again, but hopefully not too soon… four times in four years it’s quite a bit for someone who doesn’t really like Paris and has no obligations there. But, well, I could take some good photos, so…win 🙂

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