I fell prey to the travel bug very early. My parents were both born and raised outside the United States, and so I grew up traveling to their home countries since birth, visiting Grandmas and relatives in South America and Europe. Though I did not get to Paris until I was nearly twenty, it has always held a close call to my heart, with that feeling of “I was meant to have lived here”. I did live for some months teaching English, in Paris and around Europe, until setting into the hustle of New York City for a few years. Today, I live in the high mountains of Colorado, but with Apparis I can always find that European, big city culture that I miss, packed with French inspiration and daydreams of my romanticized memories of the City of Lights.
One particular time, I recall walking out of my top-floor BnB, tucked away in the back streets of Montmartre, to find a line of locals down to the corner curb waiting to order from what I would later find to be the best Boulangerie in the neighborhood. Of course I had to partake in this weekend ritual, nestling my place at the back of the line. Never has waiting in line produced such wonderful success. The hot tears that my croissant immediately ignited were as toasty and comforting as the steamy, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, best croissant I’ve ever eaten, miracle that I was lucky enough to open and devour. If you are in the area, I highly recommend stopping by Le Grenier à Pain for any number of their many baked goods, perhaps en route to Le Sacre Coeur for a picnic with some spectacular city views, down the street to see the iconic Moulin Rouge Theatre, or to wander quietly among the beautiful mausoleums in the Cimetière Montmartre (though less famous than the Père Lachaise for its inhabitants, a smaller, but still stunning, place to find stillness and peace).
That same day brought me to a tiny shoe store while wandering the 3rd arrondissement. It was early evening on a Saturday and the glass door was halfway open, bursting with chattering French women, hungry eyes salivating for the amazing sale of boots conjugating inside. It felt like a party; all the women were happy and friendly, coming together in love of the moment, our shared jois de vivre, spoiling our hearts with new footwear.
The next meander brought me to an eye-glass store close by. To begin, I have never seen a place that prescribes and sells glasses so packed, not to mention on a weekend night. What I found were affordable and fashionable, avant-garde bifocals for all shapes and styles. I must confess, I do not wear glasses, my companion brought us inside, but once I found the treasures sold I sincerely wished for less than perfect vision so that I could also take part in the bustle.
Regardless of what you seek out in Paris, there is a small boutique to satisfy any desire. From foods so delicious you can’t imagine that your’e just eating a plain loaf of bread to shops housing unique treasures, there is something for everyone in France’s capital.
That is what I love about Paris, and with Apparis I don’t have to just dream.
Pauline, Apparis Bloguette