I only had my gloves off for a couple of seconds when my fingers started to freeze. The sun had set and the temperature had plummeted to face-numbing levels. Morning couldn’t wait if I wanted a photo of the Notre Dame illuminated beautifully, even if my nose fell off. Who knows when I’ll be back in Paris again?
Although determined to make the most of one wintry week in Paris, I wasn’t ambitious enough to try and see everything. I didn’t want a trip scheduled full of sight-seeing that leaves me exhausted and needing a vacation in the end. I wanted a vacation.
However, being my first time in town, I couldn’t resist a little sight-seeing. Apart from Notre Dame I visited the Eiffel Tower, which looks great from the bottom by the way (smart people leave climbing towers for warmer weather). Then there’s the Sacre Ceour, the beautiful church that stands on the city’s highest point. Right next door is Monmartre, the creative part of town crawling with artists eager to draw your portrait.
A would-be-Picasso tried to charge me 100 euros for a sketch he drew of my face. Each time I said no, the price dropped by 10 and in the end I walked away with a 10-euro sketch of some Chinese girl who looks like my distant cousin. At least when I went to the Louvre, I saw the most famous portrait in the world, the Mona Lisa. I couldn’t help but get trigger happy with my camera, especially with such beautiful architecture too.
Despite the weather, Paris in below-zero temperatures was still fun. It was the perfect excuse to be indoors lounging around in the establishments this city invented – cafes. Warm, cozy and inviting, every time I stepped inside one from the freezing cold, it was like finding heaven; the kind that warms your butt and brings feelings back to your fingers and toes.
In the eclectic and vibrant area of the Latin Quarter I found my favourite. When I walked into Paul’s opulent parlour adorned with chandeliers, I found my Parisien ‘local’. Not only are their meals affordable and yummy, they have the best fresh bread I have ever tasted, free with every meal. And their hot chocolate with Chantilly cream is so luscious that I didn’t even care when I discovered that Paul’s is actually a franchise scattered all over France and the UK. It certainly doesn’t change the taste of their complimentary bread.
One week may not be enough to see all the sights in town, but if you slow down and relax to take in the beauty and vibe of Paris, no matter what you’re into, you’re guaranteed to find your own little gem.