My Favorite Things- Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower paris france

Bean and the Eiffel Tower

Whenever I am in France, I feel like I am home. I know I have said that before, and it is truly the way that I feel. I thought it was anywhere in France, but as I have discovered, it is really Paris. I hate to be cliché, but there IS something special about Paris that I just can’t explain.

For me, it happened the first time that I traveled abroad. My first overseas destination was Paris. I had no idea what to expect. I walked off the plane and for the first time in my life truly felt chez moi. Every time I am home, here are a few things that I love to experience.

Bakeries-
Bean and I love the bakeries. It isn’t just the smell of the fresh-baked bread that hits you walking down the street. It is the anticipation of a delicious treat that we wait for all day long. Bean loves goûter because she knows that she will be able to choose some beautiful and delicious confection. I like going with Bean because if I were left to myself, I would choose something simple like a pain au chocolat or croissant aux amandes. Bean is adventurous and daring. She doesn’t care if she is choosing a treat that should be eaten for dessert. She knows that what she is seeing is beautiful to the eyes, the mouth and the rest of her senses. She always chooses well.

Community garden at parc de la villette

Community Garden at Parc de la Villette

Community Gardens-
Since having a garden of our own, I am always excited to see community gardens popping up in big cities. I read that community gardens were arriving and becoming popular in Paris. We kept running into them on our walks throughout the city. We stopped and spoke to one lady during a garden open house of sorts. She was serving tea made from the herbs of the garden. She mentioned that every arrondissement has at least one community garden. I have seen them along the tram tracks, in front of the museum, along an old bridge, by schools. What is so delightful about them is that they can pop up anywhere.

Paris playground

Top Paris destination: Playgrounds

Playgrounds-
Play areas are big for me and Bean. I can sit and watch as Bean interacts with other children as I read a book. Bean can get a little of her endless supply of energy out as she tries crazy tricks. Play areas, like community gardens, are everywhere. The neighborhood in which we were staying had one or two on every block. Walking along the Seine, we found play areas constructed along the wall of the bridge. Some of the more popular parks have humongous areas for children, with huge slides, swings, climbing walls and more. Even with the abundance of playgrounds, there are some neighborhoods which block off streets on certain days so that the children can play together. Bean comes back to the house every day saying how many friends she has made. I come back to the house excited that she is speaking French.

Diversity, diversity, diversity-
Fancy parties in trendy arrondissements, next door neighbors with two wives, Chinese people speaking Mandarin with African children, Indian people who lived in our old neighborhood. Everything, and everyone that I would want to meet is right outside my doorstep. They may be from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Korea or the Ivory Coast. They might be from Sweden, Romania, New Zealand or Brazil. All I need to do is go outside and say Bonjour. I know this can happen in practically any big city if I take the time to get involved. However, there is just something special about speaking French and having enjoying the joie de vivre of the French.

I am especially thoughtful of all the things that I love about France as Bean and I get ready to make a BIG jump to another country. We have enjoyed our time in France and will always come back every chance we get. Bean will continue to practice her French. I will work on mine as well. It is time for new adventures in foreign lands! I can hardly wait to get there.

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