This is going to be my first post on Grateful Grapefruit and I’m truly excited. Christo and I shortly discussed the topics I could cover here and we agreed on something travel related. My greatest passion.
Although I wanted to travel the world from day 1, my adventures started a bit later, when I visited Paris for the first time. So it feels about right that my first contribution to Grateful Grapefruit is related to the city of light.

Have you actually ever wondered why Paris is known as ville-lumière? You can obviously find different explanations, but none of them has to do with the amount of lights. Except of course the one light that the rest of the world is jealous of: the Eiffel tower.
Paris is such a popular city that you might have heard thousands of clichés. The one I prefer is ‘Paris is well worth a Mass’. In fact, it doesn’t matter why you are planning to visit, one thing is sure: Paris is worth it. Ask L’Oréal, if you don’t trust me.

What to do in Paris? This is the one million dollar question. The usual tourist guides are hardly comprehensive, how am I supposed summarize Paris in one blog post? This is why I’m trying a different approach: Paris for your six senses.

Sight
Paris is a delight for the human eyes. There is beauty everywhere: except for the Tour Montparnasse, it’s really difficult to find an ugly spot in this city. Everything is just like you expect it to be. Pure grandeure française. This also means that you can’t miss any important sight (I don’t really have to list them, do I?).
My favorite view is at sunset from Montmartre. Miss it and you can’t say to have seen Paris.

Hearing
It’s not Istanbul but Paris is chaotic and loud enough to drive you crazy. But you can escape the city craziness any time in some key places. The most notable of which is the Père Lachaise cemetery where you can meet, among others, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. Alternatively, go to the beautiful Place des Vosges. I mean it, go, trust me.
Want to enjoy the soundtrack of the city instead? Head to Place de la Concorde.

Smell
Paris is definitively not odorless. From the boulangerie next door to the many clochards on the streets, you can get a sniff of anything. But there is one particular smell that I’m very attached to: the métro. Oh yes, especially in the morning, after cleaning. It’s probably formalin. The point is not whether it’s a nice fragrance or not. It’s just very particular and I’ve been smelling it only there. As crazy as it seems, it’s my way to realize that I’m in Paris.

Touch
I know this isn’t specific only to Paris. After all, there are many other cities in the world where you can actually touch art and history as much or even more than in Paris (Rome anyone?). But, hey, where else can you touch iron the way you can do it at the Eiffel tower? You can even feel the vibrations.

Taste
Foodies love Paris. And for good reasons. Personally, pastries are my favorite food in Paris: the flan parisien above all. Try it with pistachio flavor. Croissant of any kind, pain au chocolat and macarons are all time favorites too. Most importantly, the whole experience of enjoying a coffee with pastries in any cafe on Boulevard Saint-Germain is just memorable.

6th sense
Don’t you have one? Don’t worry, just read another blog then. No, wait. With 6th sense I’m just trying to classify this particular emotion connected with a Parisian visit. For me it’s melancholy. Paris is full of it. Melancholy for a great past which is no more. Melancholy during rainy days (and Paris is perfect for rainy days). Melancholy when you leave…

This is Paris for your six senses. But you will never truly understand these suggestions until you experience them. Just don’t hesitate to let me know, in the comments section below, whether you agree with me, or whether you have suggestions of your own, based on your personal experience.
While you’re still planning your visit, here some easy suggestions for the modern man to get the feeling for Paris.

Paris on the screen
I might be obvious, but it’s difficult not to suggest Amélie. If you don’t feel like boarding the next flight to Paris after watching this movie, I don’t know how else this is going to happen.
A more recent movie, which also captures the very nature of the city, completely lost in its past, is Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Paris in music
No, I’m not going to mention Yann Tiersen. The movie is enough, you don’t have to get lost in the boring soundtrack. Instead, even if you don’t know what opera is, try first of all with La Traviata. Epic.
Carefully selected for Grateful Grapefruit readers, I’d like to suggest Tourist by St. Germain too.

If not Paris, then…
If you can’t go to Paris for any reason, or you have been there too many times (is this actually possible?) try these palliatives/alternatives:

Brussels, Belgium – In my opinion, especially when it comes to food, the only little Paris in Europe
Paris, Texas, US – I just had to mention it
Leipzig, Germany – If Lonely Planet says so, it must be true, right?
Las Vegas, Nevada, US – Even better than the real thing

-Pino (@haikus)

2 Comments

  1. westphal

    the vegas being ‘better than the real thing’ definitely needs to be..um…’rethought’. might i suggest, since you have brussels on there, that you strike vegas and place ‘new orleans’ in its place?

  2. Pino Author

    Hello Westphal! I could include so many other places. Truth is, Paris is unique, just like any other city.
    Personally I have never been in New Orleans, so I can’t really include it in my list.
    And Las Vegas… Well, I loved it! It’s cheesy but fun ;-) My comment was a reference to a song by U2. Do listen to the song or read the text to understand what I mean.

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