I rarely get homesick and when I do it’s usually because I’m stressed out, worn out or weighed down. It’s more of a longing for a simpler time than anything else—a subconscious wish for someone else to look after me and worry about my problems for me. While I don’t often crave home, Paris is always on my mind. Going to Paris is an escape for me. It might sound like a strange thing to say about one of the world’s largest cities, especially when you know that I come from a remote island with a population of 22,000 people, but when I go to Paris, I relax. Here are some of the things I pine for when I’m missing Paris:
1. The City Waking Up
Early morning is my favourite time of day no matter where I am. In Paris, I love the first stirrings of the day; street sweepers doing their rounds; shop keepers reeling up their metal shop covers with a squeak; everyone hurrying off to their first appointments of the day and, of course, the smell of freshly baked baguette in the air.
Which brings me to…
There’s always time for breakfast in Paris. Business men and women stop for a shot of hot, strong espresso and a buttery croissant while skimming the headlines. Those with the morning off take their time, order a second café crème and watch the city come to life. Read about my favourite breakfast spot here.
3. The Terraces
I defy you to walk past a bustling café corner and not yearn to join the crowd gathered on the terrace for lunch, happy hour or dinner. The temperature needs to drop pretty low to make me move inside. Patio heaters make it cosy and everyone just huddles a little closer.
4. Bonjour and Au Revoir
The French are formal in their manners and it’s important to reciprocate. The Americans might find the service a bit stiff, the Norwegians might find it ‘too much’ but for me, the respectful greeting and ‘until next time’ farewells of Paris are just right.
5. Local Service in the Big City
In my post comparing Paris with New York, I wrote about how in New York, high street chains rule the streets. In Paris, somehow, specialist shops have managed to keep a hold on their reign. If you are friendly (and remember your bonjours and au revoirs), you can find the same kind of service you would expect in a small local shop in a French village.
6. The Beautiful Buildings
If only the streets could talk. Not only are the city streets bursting with history, they’re immaculately maintained. Every street, every boulevard sparks the imagination into dreaming up the stories behind the beautiful buildings that line them, and the people that have come and gone within.
7. The Evening Glow
It’s not called the city of lights for nothing. When night falls Paris is bathed in the most flattering, golden light. We have a street lantern hanging just next to the terrace of our flat, and the same soft light filters in through the windows while we sleep.
8. My Little Piece of Paris
I still get the same rush opening the door to our studio apartment as I did when we bought it two years ago. It’s small but it’s exactly how we imagined it would be: my home away from home and my own little piece of Paris.
What do you miss about Paris or your home away from home?