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As an expat, trying to make a place for myself, it’s easy to get frustrated with daily life, which includes grocery store disappointments. For this reason, it is especially important to stop and recognize the positive in every day. As I reflect on my favorite things about the City of Light, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let any negativity into this post, which is why I’m not going to talk about the cigarette smoke pollution, the dog crap on the sidewalks, the innumerable rainy days, or the public peeing by homeless persons. (I was mooned last week and am still traumatized.) At the end of the day, I love living in Paris, and despite any negativity you might see on this blog, I truly am grateful for this opportunity.

Food Culture

Yes, the cheese, bread, and wine (not necessarily in that order) are amazing. You have not had bread until you’ve experienced a freshly baked baguette from France. And don’t even get me started on the pastries.

pastries in Paris
YUM
cheese case in paris
Even in the city, there are big supermarkets, but how cool is it that there are still small shops devoted solely to cheese or meat or fish?

For me, it’s not just about the good food and the cheap (but also good) wine, it’s about the whole culture surrounding food. Spending time at the table to relax and talk is, well… relaxing! In America, working through your lunch is the norm, and I’m glad that that is not the case here.

terrasse in Paris
coffee at Les Deux Magots

On a somewhat unrelated note, I also love that cafés have their chairs facing the sidewalks to encourage people watching. It’s as if they want me to spend hours nursing my little espresso or my happy hour drink.

Big City

I love the diversity and excitement that comes from living in a big city. There’s a little bit of everything here. I can eat at an open-air market, at a crêpe or kebab stand, or even on top of the Eiffel Tower. I can walk along the Seine River, on the Promenade Plantée, or in a garden or park.

Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Am I really still in Paris? – Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Even during daily walks, there is always something new to discover: street art, a pop-up store, or even a restaurant you hadn’t noticed before. I’m not a huge museum person, but I would be remiss to not mention the art scene in Paris. You can get free admission to many museums in Paris on the first Sunday of the month, so I definitely take advantage of that.

gallery in Musée d'Orsay
Inside the Musée d’Orsay, which was an old train station. It’s one of my top 3 favorite museums in Paris.
gay pride parade in Paris

Throughout the year, there are tons of events, concerts, and festivals. Honestly, there are too many things to keep track of!

Pride Parade 2016

It’s Just Beautiful, Alright?

The architecture in Paris is gorgeous, and it’s crazy to think about how old some of these buildings are. You could actually live in an apartment building that is hundreds of years old.

American and Frenchman in Paris
Throwback to our first reunion, with a pretty famous landmark in the background – February 2017

With the height restrictions on buildings, Paris feels less claustrophobic and more manageable than a city like New York.

colorful houses on Rue crémieux
Charming, non? – Rue Crémieux

There are Instagram worthy shots around every corner, and inside buildings, too. It’s called the City of Light for a reason! Not to mention, have you seen Paris during the end of the year holidays?? My list of the best Christmas lights in Paris is certainly not exhaustive.

woman standing in Palais Garnier
Palais Garnier

It’s not just the scenery that is beautiful. French is an elegant, melodic language, and I get to hear it every day.


It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been to Paris or how long I’ve stayed, this city is still magical to me. I hope I never lose my Francophile lenses. Et toi? What do you love about Paris?

Paris: A Few of My Favorite Things
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2 thoughts on “Paris: A Few of My Favorite Things

  • October 16, 2019 at 10:52 pm
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    Quel Blog extraordinaire, Ellen. Tu as de la chance de vivre à Paris !!!

    Reply
    • October 17, 2019 at 4:22 am
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      Merci, Yvonne! Oui, je le sais très bien 🙂

      Reply

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