150 Things to Love about Paris

150 Things to Love about Paris

Paris is intoxicating. Like a drug, she seeps into my veins, leaving me in a state of euphoria. That feeling never fully fades, lingering even after I’ve gone. When asked my favorite place in the world, Paris rolls off my tongue without hesitation. For those who have also been infected with the same Parisian affliction, no additional words are needed. While others, who either haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Paris, or probably ticked off the quintessential sites from the back of a double-decker bus, require further explanation.

Why do you love Paris?

Reasons to Love Paris France54 150 Things to Love about Paris

While naming my favorite place is simple, actually explaining the allure of it is quite complex. For me, Paris has a calming effect, as strange as that sounds. But being in the city settles my soul. Absent is the nagging pull that keeps me constantly on the move. Instead, I ache knowing that with each setting sun, I have one less day in a city that couldn’t be fully discovered with a lifetime of sunrises. I suppose I’ve simply substituted one longing for another. Novelist and essayist, Pico Iyer wrote,

“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, in dimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.”

I’m fully aware of my tendency to become complacent, taking for granted the familiar. Thus, in September on a United flight somewhere between Newark and Paris, I made a conscious decision to write down all the things that I love about Paris. Not wanting to forget the most minute detail, I carried a pen and little, black notebook most everywhere I went. On the metro and in parks, I scribbled nonstop. Pages and pages were filled, some of which I now can’t decipher. Nothing was too ordinary. If it made me take notice, chances are I wrote it down. It was my sloppy, misspelled love letter to Paris.

Although I wrote this down for myself, I decided to clean it up and post it here. Thus, here is an abbreviated {and correctly spelled} version of my many things to love about Paris.

Reasons to Love Paris France49 150 Things to Love about Paris

1. Café hopping in Saint-Germain-des-Prés

2.  Place Vendôme

3.   Men in custom-tailored suits

Reasons to Love Paris France12 150 Things to Love about Paris

4.   Real books and people who read them

5.   Cheeky advertisements that would never fly in the USA

6.   Street musicians with pets

7.   Haussmann architecture

8.   Walks at dusk in Bois de Vincennes

Reasons to Love Paris France13 150 Things to Love about Paris

9.   Green lounge chairs at Jardin du Luxembourg

10.  Walking in the rain

11.  Proud Parisians who know {and share} the city’s history

12.  Carved doors

13. Fromageries

Reasons to Love Paris France14 150 Things to Love about Paris

14.  Flamme de la Liberté and the tributes to Princess Diana

15.  Fresh flowers placed on World War II memorial plaques

16.  Cherubs and light posts of Pont Alexandre III

17.  Symmetrical gardens

Reasons to Love Paris France31 150 Things to Love about Paris

18.  Modern architecture of La Défense

19.  Late-night Sunday strolls

20.  Montmartre on a lively Friday night

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21.  Montmartre on an empty Sunday morning

22.  Walking from Place de Concorde to the Louvre

23.  Tiny elevators

24.  Hermés windows on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Reasons to Love Paris France53 150 Things to Love about Paris

25. Arc de Triomphe roundabout

26.  Coins that amount to substantial money

27.  Specialty shops for everything

Reasons to Love Paris France11 150 Things to Love about Paris

28.  Parc Monceau on a sunny Saturday

29.  Statues and the French who actually know their significance

30.  Lazy Sundays

31.  Dijon mustard

Reasons to Love Paris France37 150 Things to Love about Paris

32.  Fountains at Hotel Du Ville

33.  Quietness of Square Jean-XXIII, between Notre Dame and the Seine River

34.  Madness of Colette

35.  Beef tartare

Reasons to Love Paris France5 150 Things to Love about Paris

36.  Angular shadows created on a sunny day on the terraces of Foundation Louis Vuitton

37.  Absence of baseball caps

38.  Camembert cheese

39.  Meeting the ghosts of art and literature past

40.  Publicis Drugstore

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41.  Kooky staircase outside the Centre Georges Pompidou

42.  Angelina’s L’African Hot Chocolate

43.  Secret cocktail bars behind pizza parlors

44.  Clock at Musée d’Orsay

Reasons to Love Paris France35 150 Things to Love about Paris

45.  Picnics along the Seine

46.  Gare Montparnasse

47.  Falafel in the Marais

Reasons to Love Paris France42 150 Things to Love about Paris

48.  Generational family businesses

49.  Writing at Place de Vosges

50.  Love and the propensity to fall in it

Reasons to Love Paris France1 150 Things to Love about Paris

51.  Colorful sex shops along Place de Clichy

52.  Long walks late at night

53.  Seeing the city from the back of a motorcycle

54.  Heineken sellers at Sacré-Cœur

55.  Old books sold from green boxes along the Seine River

Reasons to Love Paris France23 150 Things to Love about Paris

56.  Black and white pillars of Palais Royal

57.  Absolute silence in a packed metro

58.  Rotating markets with seasonal fruits and vegetables

59.  Mornings on rue Montorgueil

Reasons to Love Paris France19 150 Things to Love about Paris

60.  Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen tiled on the Concorde station

61.  Glass dome of the Grand Palais

62.  Gargoyles of Notre Dame

63.  Champagne just because

Reasons to Love Paris France34 150 Things to Love about Paris

64.  Concerts in front of Opera Garnier

65.  Carousels

66.  Boulangeries

67.  Students smoking in between classes in the Latin Quarter

68.  Polite beggars on the metro

Reasons to Love Paris France32 150 Things to Love about Paris

69.  Unexpected glimpses of the Eiffel Tower

70.  Wine with dinner

71.  Wine with lunch

72.  Wine for breakfast

Reasons to Love Paris France36 150 Things to Love about Paris

73.  Stained glass at the American Church

74.  Real butter croissants

75.  Hidden gardens

76. Palace hotels

Reasons to Love Paris France39 150 Things to Love about Paris

77.  Artists in Montmartre

78.  L’église de la Madeleine

79.  Random odes to American pop culture

Reasons to Love Paris France6 150 Things to Love about Paris

80.  Jardin d’Acclimatation

81.  The 360-degree view from the 8th floor of Printemps

82.  Ever-changing metro advertisement posters

83.  Velvet ropes and lines in front of Louis Vuitton

Reasons to Love Paris France38 150 Things to Love about Paris

84.  Marché Paul Bert

85.  Learning French from the metro stop announcments

86.  Windows at Galeries Lafayette

Reasons to Love Paris France16 150 Things to Love about Paris

87.  Cognac, armagnac, St. Germain, and calvados

88.  Late mornings and later dinners

89.  Unpasteurized cheese

90.  :55 nighttime sparkling Eiffel Tower shows

Reasons to Love Paris France8 150 Things to Love about Paris

91.  Beautiful and historically significant cemeteries

92.  Dogs in cafés

93.  Men in scarves

94.  Corner florists

Reasons to Love Paris France29 150 Things to Love about Paris

95.  Buskers in the metro

96.  Glistening streets after the rain

97.  Gourmet yogurt in glass jars

98.  Flower boxes

Reasons to Love Paris France10 150 Things to Love about Paris

99.  Café terraces on a warm any day

100. Windmills in Montmartre

101. Goats in the Jardin des Tuileries

102. Bullet holes along rue de Rivoli from the Liberation of Paris

Reasons to Love Paris France20 150 Things to Love about Paris

103. Red light in the Louvre pyramid

104. Weathered wooden and mosaic floors

105. Ornate iron drinking fountains

106. Croque-madame

Reasons to Love Paris France2 150 Things to Love about Paris

107. Stairs in front of Sacré-Cœur

108. Eating a hamburger with a knife and fork

109. Vintage postcards of Paris

110. Skateboarders at Palais de Tokyo

Reasons to Love Paris France7 150 Things to Love about Paris

111. Pierre Hermé white truffle macaroons

112. Flowers at Four Seasons George V

113. Quiet, well-behaved children

Reasons to Love Paris France48 150 Things to Love about Paris

114. Park benches

115. Nutella crepes

116. Electronic cigarettes

Reasons to Love Paris France26 150 Things to Love about Paris

117. Canal St. Martin

118. Traditional baguettes

119. The sound of your name with a French accent {Leee-ahhhh–so very sexy}

Reasons to Love Paris France21 150 Things to Love about Paris

120. Illuminated Arc du Carrousel on a pitch-black night

121.  Soccer freestyler, Iya Traoré, at Sacré Cœur

122. Neon green crosses above pharmacies

Reasons to Love Paris France22 150 Things to Love about Paris

123. Saint-Honoré pastry at Le Meurice

124. Melodic sounds of French being spoken

125. Butter sandwiches with ham

126. Giant bottles of Badoit sparkling water for the table

Reasons to Love Paris France25 150 Things to Love about Paris

127. Statue of Joan of Arc during the golden hour

128. Awe-struck people on Champ de Mars

129. Double cheek kiss

Reasons to Love Paris France44 150 Things to Love about Paris

130. Technicolor skies

131. No discernible painted traffic lanes

132. Crossing Pont Neuf from the Right to the Left Bank

Reasons to Love Paris France17 150 Things to Love about Paris

133. Busy bookstores

134. Rooftop view of Notre Dame from the Arab World Institute

135. French onion soup

Reasons to Love Paris France4 150 Things to Love about Paris

136. Cheese for dinner

137. Dreamy and picturesque Villa Léandre

138. Flat listings prominently displayed in real estate office windows

Reasons to Love Paris France52 150 Things to Love about Paris

139. Cobblestone streets

140. Post-meal espresso

141. Boutique shopping in the Marais

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142. Artisan chocolate shops

143. Quietness of Île Saint-Louis after dark

144. An empty Trocadéro

145. Sound of police and ambulance sirens

Reasons to Love Paris France9 150 Things to Love about Paris

146.  Rolling hills of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

147. Window shopping in Galerie Vivienne and Passage Jouffroy

148. Standing in the immigration line at Charles de Gaulle

149. The intoxicating euphoria felt when discovering something new

Reasons to Love Paris France40 150 Things to Love about Paris

 150. The welcoming, thoughtful, and all-around beautiful Parisians who have consistently taken in this stray American

I limited myself to 150, but could have waxed poetically for ages. Tell me, what do you love about Paris?

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