Shock, horror but confessing that Paris hasn’t always been a favourite destinations will undoubtedly have some questioning my sanity. The city of romance is often described as gay but until a recent visit it’s frivolity always alluded me. Perhaps it all depends on the company but it’s a result of maturity.
Cities have never been a favourite environment and the last time I visited Paris properly was when at school, under the guise of a group of language students. Despite the myriad of attractions that “Gay Paris” has to offer like typical teenagers most of the time we lost interest within a few minutes and soon wanted to move on. This time I was visiting with a special friend from Brazil who was spending her first time in Europe, Her enthusiasm allied with my new-found maturity resulted in a much more enjoyable trip.
Learning to appreciate the opportunity to travel has changed my attitude. Now attempting to experience any journey with the enthusiasm a child finds in the opportunities for adventure. Visiting in January the weather wasn’t ideal often cold and wet but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Nara. The infectious enthusiasm of my companion, her unbridled display of joy when one of the main landmarks came into view made the trip a pleasure. In fact nothing when it snowed it only seemed to add to her excitement
We had arrived at night, and the accommodation was within a few minutes walk of the Sacré Coeur, which when all lit up is quite spectacular. From this vantage point which provides a view of the city the Eiffel Tower was clearly visible in the distance. Nara was ecstatic, almost overwhelmed with emotion. Her reaction was common to anybody when a dream finally comes true. She was like an excited child, genuinely overwhelmed with joy and it was impossible not to become caught up in her unbridled enthusiasm. She took dozens of photographs of the distant landmark and I just beamed at her all evening, in fact all week.
This set the tone for the rest of the visit, regardless of what the weather threw at us, we savoured every moment. Enjoying winter café culture on the Champs-Élysées, queuing to take the lift up the Tower among the clouds, ambling along the Seine or waiting patiently for our turn to pose in front of the Mona Lisa nothing could dampen our spirits, it was always a pleasure.
Blasé isn’t an attitude I like to tar myself with but witnessing the reactions of Nara did make me realise that my enthusiasm falls somewhat short of a genuinely wide-eyed traveller. This visit didn’t really rekindle an affection for Paris because there wasn’t any there, however the cities attractions and the memories they provided have promoted it to favourite destination status.