Pamela MacNaughtan

When I close my eyes, I see Paris.

I was walking through the gardens behind the Musée du Louvre at dusk. As I reached the edge of the gardens I spotted the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I stood there, staring, wondering how far away it really was. I waited for the traffic to slow down, then crossed the round-a-bout and started walking towards the Eiffel Tower.

I had no clue where I was. I didn’t have a map or a guidebook. As I walked I look ahead, making sure the Eiffel Tower was in front of me. I walked in a zig zag pattern, stopping at random places to take photos of whatever was around me. My path eventually took me to the Seine, and as I reached the river I stood on the bridge, staring at the tall black mental structure in the distance. The sun was slipping from the horizon, and the sky was turning from blue to shades of pink and purple.

I eventually found myself on a small street, the Eiffel Tower appearing at the end of the street. The sun was gone, and the night was settling in. The Eiffel Tower was lit now, and I walked toward it as if I were in a trance. It was there, in front of me. It was lit up, and it was stunning. I was like a tourist zombie as I walked the last hundred meters towards the Eiffel Tower.

As I stepped off the street, and toward the Eiffel Tower it began to sparkle. Chills went through my body, and my eyes watered. It was as though the Eiffel Tower had begun to sparkle just for me, and I was over-the-moon with excitement. I walked around and underneath the tower, snapping photos with a big goofy smile on my face. I had seen the Eiffel Tower in the morning when I ventured from my hostel in Montmartre to explore the city, but at that time it was just another landmark. Now, it was the best landmark, ever.

I. Was. In. Love.

My time in Paris was short, but enough time for me to fall in love with this magical city.

Paris, I’m coming back!

Yes, yes I am coming back. I am finally returning to Paris after 5 long years. I’ll be using my Eurail Global pass and traveling from Brussels to Paris on July 1, 2012. My current plan is to stay for 3 nights and apply for my Uzbekistan transit visa while I’m in the city.

Nostalgia has completely taken over, and I find myself booking a bed at the same hostel (Caulaincourt Square Hostel) I stayed in the last time I was in Paris, not because it was amazing, but because I loved the neighbourhood. I remember walking to the delightful patisserie up the street and buying fresh croissants, then stopping at a small grocer and picking up some strawberries. I can still taste the buttery, flaky, croissants, and remember the way they melted in my mouth. I would switch from croissant to strawberries. The burst of fruit was a welcome change. I took my time eating, and I was quite sad when I had finished. At the time I was on a strict budget, and buying more was not in the cards. This time will be different.

On this trip to Paris, I plan to expand my yummy French picnic. This time I’m buying croissants, strawberries, camembert cheese, and possibly some chocolate. Then I’m going to make my way to a park, or cathedral, sit on a lawn and enjoy every last morsel (don’t worry, I’ll try to refrain from posting a ton of food photos).

Aside from my foodie trip down memory lane, and applying for an Uzbekistan visa, I have no plans. I want to leave myself open to new experiences and sights. My first trip to Paris happened because of a break-up and a cheap flight to London, this time I’m actually planning my trip!


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