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Paris, Paris

The latest disruption in my posts was caused by a long-weekend excursion to Paris, which was immediately preceded by another round of problems with the website, which hopefully have now been resolved once and for all (but claimed as their victim the recent Tuscany gallery album, which I am yet to restore). Oops, famous last words, “… have been resolved…” – I am in IT, I should know better…

Anyway, what we want to talk about is Paris.

As I say quite often when discussing my travel experiences, Paris is a beautiful city, but it does not break into the top of my list of most beautiful cities. Having just typed that sentence, I caught myself wondering: Exactly why is it that I put Vienna as number two on my list, and Paris somewhere around number ten? And I have to admit, there is no strict criteria or well-worded definition. It’s the overall ambience, and Paris has always suffered due to pervasive dog poop (only in the last year or so have the powers that be figured to pass regulations requiring dog owners to clean after their furry friends) and less-than-ideal French approach to personal hygiene. The latter, unfortunately, still finds ways to resurface at the most inopportune moments (for instance, when you are served food in a restaurant), but the city looked positively radiant to us this time around, probably warranting a higher place in rankings.

Paris is also the first destination that we came to for the third time in our travels. The uncommon level of familiarity and recognition (we had lunch at the same cafe as our very first breakfast in Paris five years ago, or bought scarves at the same shop) made for a more relaxed experience. Plus, even though we needed to show the most famous landmarks to Kimmy, – who alone among us was making her very first Parisian trip, – we were utterly free of the pressure to do specifically this or that, instead spending most of the time on leisurely walks and unhurried exploration.

We enjoyed every moment of it.

No matter what your idiosyncrasies may be, Paris is a great place to kick back, to sit in a sidewalk cafe and watch people streaming by, to stroll quaint streets and leafy squares. It is also awfully romantic – or, maybe, we always prejudged it to be romantic in our youth and cannot shake that feeling now.

Снова я в Париже. Снова я влюблён.

“I am in Paris again. I am in love again.”

Well, we tried to keep the kids amused by stopping at every playground in our way, browsing various shops, coming up with games and activities. But mostly, we just walked around, gawked at pretty buildings, indulged in crépes and pastry, relaxed on park benches… The only touristy thing that we did was a boat tour late at night, but we seriously consider it a must: Ignore the narration, just look around and be awed.

The cuisine, of course, was a highlight of its own. One restaurant is worth mentioning any day of the week: Le Petit Pontoise, on Rue Pontoise off Quai de la Tournelle. It is a small and fairly famous place, where reservations are quite essential; the menu items are written on chalkboards that are hanging around the dining room; the food simply dazzles. Kimmy has gotten so excited about it, that she started making plans for what she would have the next time and got a bit upset when we told her that our next visit there is going to come after a while.

Kimmy also has fallen in love with Eiffel Tower, especially after seeing it sparkling with strob-lights a couple of times. As for us, we simply rediscovered the city that we love and want to come back to again and again…

Travelog information about Paris can be found here.