Time is coming for my second goodbye to Paris, not the literal one which you say when you leave the country but the real one – the goodbye in your heart. The chapter of Paris ends for me, and new one, the one I still don’t quite get, begins. My story might be just one of so many other young people who went to see the world and live in it, but it also might be somewhat special, as I had my share of unique adventures in Paris. What I know for sure is that I came home different, from all the new experiences, and rich, with a lot of new friendships.
In case you are a first time visitor to my blog, and you are interested in some small yet often interesting Parisian street adventures of a foreigner getting lost in the beautiful and historical city of light, the sum up of my story from the beginning is available on the The story page.
My readers, it was great to write for you! Until our another adventure, au revoir!
It was a lot more difficult to leave Paris than I expected, but here I am, back in Croatia. The feelings are still quite mixed, and I am yet to find myself a new rhythm here, but my Croatian city, Varaždin, now seems even nicer than before. Varaždin with its 50000 inhabitants is much of a contrast to the buzzing life of Paris, and for me it seems like time is standing still. Days pass so slowly I feel like I’ve been home for a month already, although it has only been a mere week! And in between the still much alive feelings I have for Paris and France, and the newly refreshed charm of Varaždin, I do have to ask myself – where is really my home now?
Of course, now comes the infamous “what now?” question. I will continue to work for my French company for another two months, split by a shorter vacation here in Croatia (where else could I go than here.. .;-) ), and then in September I have a bit longer trip through Europe in my plans. I will for sure visit Portugal (Lisbon and the island paradise of Azores), then Paris&Fontainebleau again, and I might also include a few days of both Italy and Spain. Can’t wait!!!
The other “what now?” would be what with this blog. Writing this blog was a great experience for me, and your response even greater. Thank you all, my dear readers!!! The plan now is to conclude this blog with one more goodbye post to sum up the experience, but after that – I don’t know yet. I would like to continue to blog, but it seems appropriate to end this one. The French Blow was, after all, dedicated to Paris.
To say a goodbye (sort of), I added my last picture set from Paris. It might not be spectacular, but it is for sure quite emotional for me. Whether I ever live again in Paris or not – the city has me forever, and I will always gladly visit it! Any takes for September? 😉
My dear readers, next week will be the time to say online goodbye also. I almost can’t believe it, but the seven Parisian months have ended, and it’s time to start thinking of some new small adventures ahead!
After intense seven months of living here, I am happy to recommend you, hopefully a visitor to Paris one day, my favorite and most beautiful places to enjoy in the always charming Paris. Following this list can only pleasantly surprise you, and you certainly won’t be disappointed (I promise!).
1. Montmartre: the beautiful Parisian village crowned by the imposing Sacré-Cœur church is by far my most favorite place here. With a lot of stuff always going on, from legendary artists to many street performers, and also quite a few hidden corners, Montmartre is a definite must visit for me (and also for thousands of other tourists too, so don’t expect solitude).
2. Le vieux bellevile: in this bar located in the Belleville quarter, where Edith Piaf used to sing on the streets before rising to stardom, every Thursday night you can hear a real authentic French chanson at its best. Musicians Jean-Marc and Riton La Manivelle perform with a genuine gusto, and as their chanson starts, this place becomes the real ‘forgotten’ Paris we all know from the movies.
3. Tour Eiffel: is the symbol of this city since it was built in 1889, and is one of the few clichés in Paris that can actually live up to their hype. The unique view from top of the tower, especially during the night, is certain to leave you amazed. Not to be missed if I am asked.
4. Square montsouris: the beautiful old houses and for Paris very uncommon sense of peace are quite a surprise in this not so known little street. I recommend a combined visit to Cité Universitaire (number 6) followed by a walk around the nearby park Jardin Montsouris and finishing it with this hidden gem of Paris.
5. Amorino & Pozzetto: yes, I am recommending you to try Italian ice creams in Paris. If you can’t decide in which one to go, don’t even bother and visit them both, because the perfection of taste in these Italian creations cannot be described properly with words (except maybe saying yummy ten times in a row ;-)).
6. Cité Universitaire de Paris: the beautiful and calm heaven of studying in Paris. This place seems to me almost like a fairy-tale, like being in some other city inside a city. With the calm and diverse nature surrounding the 37 buildings all built in a different style corresponding to their native country, this place quickly pulls you into dreaming of being a student again.
7. Le Viaduc des Arts: perhaps a little less known but for sure one of the most beautiful walks you can take in Paris. The Viaduc was once a railroad, but was rebuilt in the 90s into a fabulous walk, giving a different outlook on Parisian streets and it’s irresistible rooftops while walking between many flowers and trees. Simply special, just like Paris!
8. Shakespeare and Company: discovering this readers and writers dwelling only a week before leaving Paris actually left me disappointed that I didn’t find it before, how amazing it is. The bookstore on the first floor seems more like some secret book collection, while in their library on the second floor you could almost feel the poetry in the air. This place is quite out of the box, and I think it will raise everybody’s eyebrow!
9. Restaurants Le Table de Claire and Relais du Massif Central: If you plan to go eat somewhere nice, I warmly recommend you these two places. Le Table de Claire is the restaurant whose owner invited me to see his restaurant and offered me a free glass of wine when I just got to Paris (and he did the same again the other day), while Relais du Massif Central is the restaurant where I had my first real french meal.
10. Any street anywhere in Paris: and even better not the main street. Paris is the city of promenades. There is taking a walk and there is taking a walk in Paris. Even if you are a visitor for just few days, when you want to see more of the famous stuff, allow yourself a random walk for at least one afternoon. Take a walk without a map and get lost – you are destined to find something interesting that will wow you. It’s just how Paris is! 😉
So, my dear blog reader, I invite you one more time to discover this amazing city. Use a fancy tourist guide (like I did many times), use my list if I got you interested or just come here and take a walk… It is up to you!
I am already starting to miss Paris, even though I’m still here! I am leaving in little more than two weeks, and while re-visiting some of my favorite places here, a smile full of nice memories finds its way to me, but it comes with a hidden tear as well.
Leaving Paris comes hard because I started to build myself a nice life here, with beautiful new friendships. I just began to find my favorite places here, and I started to find my own work-and-life routine – a routine pleasantly interrupted with surprises this city very generously gives. But, as much as beautiful Parisian life is, it is also very demanding and hard on a person. Rhythm of living here is starting to drain me a bit too much, and I think it is the right time for me to leave, even if it is with a tear in the eye.
The hardest thing is leaving the new friends here. I knew that our day-to-day friendship is limited for 6 months before coming here, but it still comes almost as a shock. It is strange to see someone almost every day for half a year and then suddenly one day you (or someone else) leave, and then you don’t know when you will see them again.
What I will miss the most from Paris is:
- Family Charonne: again, my new circle of friends, which are all so easy to get akin to, and so hard to leave.
- Fontainebleau and AntreBloc: climbing in Fontainebleau and training in ABloc gym with new friends and climbing partners was unexpectedly refreshing for my climbing, and I can’t wait to come back to the beautiful forest again!
- Promenades: taking a walk in Paris is a beauty for itself, and I enjoy it so much. There is nothing better than getting lost here and then finding something new that will surprise you again and again (I think it is not possible to get bored here – you just go out of your house, start walking in any direction and you will for sure find something worthy of your time!).
- Cafes & restaurants: although I may have not been too much of an out-goer here, I do love the relaxing nature of a Parisian cafe – it feels like hanging out at some friends place and just having a good leisure time.
- kindness of the French people which I surprisingly seem to encounter anywhere I go here!
Of course, there are things I will not miss from Paris, like the metro or the intense pace of life (which are actually the reasons I am not staying here), but the overall picture of Paris I have now is one of true friendship, of kindness, of this city’s immense beauty, and probably more than anything, of the always interesting street life that seems to be at this city’s very heart.
Last weekend was a little special for us here. First, there was another member of our family leaving for her home in Spain, and second, it was my birthday (I turned 26 in Paris – how cool is that? 😉 ) For the occasion we went out for a dinner, and after searching for quite some time, we found a perfect small restaurant with traditional French cuisine (it is harder to find such a place here than it seems, at least for a reasonable price). The hardest thing when visiting a better restaurant in Paris is of course chosing from the menu.
My final choice for the night was: a small cognac as aperitif, snails as entry, duck with salad for main meal, and crème brûlée for desert (Amelie’s desert). I hope it was French enough for my first go, and it was for sure super yummy (especially the snails on the left)!
In general, the restaurants and cafés of Paris are usually very relaxed in nature. It feels more like coming to a friend for a lunch then in a restaurant. Waiters here are not so much concerned with tidiness or formality – you are here to enjoy yourself and any fuss about anything will just make your time less relaxing than it should be.
In Paris people eat a lot outside, probably due to plenty of really good restaurants but also because of the general lack of time to cook for yourself. During the weekend, the terraces of all the restaurants are full! And just by walking near a restaurant you can feel how much the people inside are enjoying themselves, in great food and the unavoidable glass of the delicious French wine shared with friends.
Besides the great friends I’ve meet here and the unbeatable beauty of Fontainebleau, the French cafés will probably be the next most missed thing for me when I leave Paris.
The calming beauty of home is a gift to the returning traveler, like I was last week. I spent a week at home eating, sleeping and climbing – a much needed contrast to the buzzing life of Paris. Vacation was like vacation, restful, and home was like home, the same as before. Although it at first seems a little boring, I think it is exactly the fact that home always remains the same what makes it so calming to the traveler’s vivid mind, full of new and often unsettled impressions. I liked my week at home a lot, but I also like to be in Paris again.
Back here, the first thing I noticed again after a while is how refreshingly beautiful Paris is. I only needed a few days of rest to see it again! The second thing I noticed was the crowd and the constant noise, which reminded me I will soon stop noticing the first thing… 😉
While home might not be particularly exciting, I did manage to climb a lot with my brother, in spite of the bad weather. In fact, it rained almost every day, but we also climbed almost every day. With him I climbed my first proper boulder problem graded 7a (more about grades in climbing), and was very happy to finally succeed in this small feat for the climbing world, but a big step up for my own! It seems that climbing in Fontainebleau starts to give some reward back to me (on top of the always unbelievable beauty of the place, which by itself is enough to keep coming back there again and again). I can’t wait to go to Font tomorrow!
Wish you all a nice sunny day like mine! À bientôt 🙂
Here I am in Croatia, taking some leisure time and resting. But, Paris hasn’t left my mind, and there are things I already miss (of course, I missed some things I have here when I was in Paris, but that’s how it goes I guess..). I finally found the time to go through some photos I collected during my recent walks through Parisian streets.
I adore taking walks in Paris, and I cannot get enough of them! Paris is simply the best city to take walks in, preferably without destination. It is beautiful to just take a directionless walk after work or for the weekend, and discover something new and interesting. For instance, last time I found a beautiful small and very authentic Peruvian shop just two corners from my house, hidden in a small uncrowded street.
I am very glad I didn’t come here as a visitor, because I suspect as a tourist you tend to have quite a goal oriented day, as you want to see as much as possible in a short time available. And as I live here, I just take a random walk, and something nice will for sure come by, even if it is not famous.
Exactly this is why I love Paris. Yes, there is incredible history and spectacular monuments to see here, but after a while, you simply get used to it. And as the wow effect fades (and it does pretty quickly, unfortunately), the everyday, simple city life comes to play. In my view, this is where Paris more than excels, I would say even more than in the historical/art department.
Anyways, here are the pictures from my recent walks in Paris.
Now it’s time to continue my lazy vacation! Until next time, au revoir!