Tales of a City Girl

Paris: a mini break in the City of Lights

I’m lucky enough to have one of my closest friends living in Paris – and having worked between Christmas and New Year, I was desperate for a break. Annie resides somewhere even Carrie Bradshaw was prepared to uproot her life to go to, so it wasn’t a difficult choice.

No-one could have failed to have heard about the atrocities that had occurred in January in Paris, with the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, but the Paris I saw was not a fearful one.

Apart from the unmistakable bright green of the latest issue’s front cover plastered on the news stands across the city, and lots of graffiti bearing the slogan ‘Je Suis Charlie’, the mood of Paris felt unaltered.

Paris has always, to me, felt somewhere with a certain reserved way of holding itself and quite a, dignified air, I guess is the way I’d describe it. The side of Paris I’ve seen, outside of the bars, isn’t the loud, bright city of how I imagine somewhere like Rio being. Nothing had really changed this time around.

I love Paris for the throb of sophistication under everything it seems to be and do. I’ve been before when Annie has been working and spent the weekdays walking around – exploring; running along the Seine; and taking in a few sights.

I love it, and having Annie there in the evenings and weekends (I’ve made her sound a bit like a mobile phone tariff deal here…) meant it was a good mixture between spending time with my friend going out and laughing together about all the in jokes and humour we share; and chilling out myself doing all the touristy things she’ll have done before.

My favourite area in Paris has to be the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. I always feel a bit clever climbing the Sacre Coeur for a fraction of the price of climbing the Eiffel Tower –  and with a better view. On the Saturday afternoon with the weather just turning from crisply cold to freezing we climbed up and took lots of photos before heading down into Montmartre for some hot wine and to look around all the artist squares and higgledy piggledy roads. Montmartre looked particularly festive, even in January, and I love seeing all the artists with their stands, working on their latest paintings.

The evenings in Paris were great too. Choosing to spend our money on booze and daytime activities, we’d often start off grabbing some bits from Monoprix for dinner, and then going to a house party, or out to a bar (or chilling watching New Girl, living the city girl in Paris dream).

Paris nightlife makes me chuckle. People go around trying to sell roses to men at the bar, and whereas in London you know they would be given the cold shoulder treatment, in Paris they lap it up. The girls are walking around with limp roses in their hand until they get bored and drop them in a puddle of booze on the bar.

They have the oddest sense in music too in the mainstream bars and seem to go a bit loco over Euro pop.

We met some characters too. Like the 60 year old professor who invited us to his retirement party with the promise of a party bus. The German guy called Canut who definitely didn’t appreciate any jokes about holding back the tide. A guy in the bar who tried to guess how many boyfriends we’d had – (ELEVEN, NO, NO, FIVE).

You can’t fail to have a good time in Paris, whether you come for nightlife, sightseeing or just a beautiful place to go ambling around.