L is L’amour
I first met Paris in 1999. Clichéd as it sounds, it was probably love at first sight.
Paris is like a lover. I have loved it, hated it and loved it all over again. It is also like an unforgettable lover. I could not resist its allure and found myself returning to its embrace again and again.
O is for the Only One
Many people think that Paris is the most romantic city in the world. Strangely, I don’t feel the same way. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel for the city.
There is simply no other place in the world like Paris.
Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde and Pablo Picasso are some of the great names who had, at one point or another, called Paris home. It is not hard to see why Paris has been a muse to many writers and artists.
The city is replete with culture, history and pure old-world charm.
V is for Voyaguese
The best way to experience Paris is by foot. My walks on the streets were serendipitous wanderings – every corner held a story waiting for me to uncover.
Strolling at my own pace allowed me to immerse in the sense of the place and the day-to-day Parisian life.
(Voyageuse refers to a female traveller in French.)
It is not unusual for people to associate the French capital with glitz, glamour and all things grand. However, beautiful as Paris is, it is also where I’ve had some not-so-pleasant encounters with people.
During my first trip, my friends and I got followed by a strange man when we were out one night. We only managed to shake off the man after we stopped by a police post and pretended to chat with the policemen.
While on my second trip, I did not know how to buy a Metro ticket using the ticket machine. No one I approached was willing to help, not even the staff at the counter at the station.
Quite often, I’ve been told by others about how “rude and snobbish” French people are. Well, no doubt I’ve seen this side of the French, but I’ve also been at the receiving end of kindness from the French.
There was once I was struggling with carrying my 15-kg luggage up a flight of stairs in a Metro station. Suddenly out of nowhere, a French guy just appeared and promptly assisted me with my luggage up the stairs. I couldn’t be more grateful.
I also have a French friend living in Paris. She is ever so helpful whenever I need some assistance. For my third trip to Paris, she offered her place for me to stay at and even made arrangements for a trip to the French Riveria. (Thank you, Flo.)
E is for Extraordinaire
Paris is sometimes called the “City of Light”, or “La Ville-Lumière” in French. The nickname came about when the capital of France became known as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement in the 17th and 18th centuries centering around reason and individualism.
Subsequently, the nickname took on a more literal meaning when Paris became the first city in Europe to start street lighting with gas lamps in the early 1800s.