Goodbye, Stranger: A Paris Lovesong

Paris, France
Viva la France!

Frank Sinatra and New York. Elvis and Las Vegas. Supertramp and Paris.

Wait, what?

Every city deserves a theme, at least when you’re traveling. My most recent trip to Paris, Supertramp’s “Goodybye Stranger” filled that role. For reasons that remain unexplained, I heard that song repeatedly throughout the week I spent trolling the city’s streets.

Hope you find your Paradise…

I didn’t actually think I’d find anything akin to a happy place in Paris, much less Paradise, when I arrived in early June. The streets, sidewalks, streets, museums, churches (you get the picture) were clogged with an unfathomable amount tourists. This made for a very cranky Val.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris
The madness to enter Shakespeare and Company.

This was my fifth trip to the City of Lights over the span of nearly 20 years, and I can say that it’s never been this choked with crowds. There was a line — with a bouncer! — just to enter Shakespeare and Company. That’s unpleasant!

Ok, I’m changing out of my crankypants now.

Le Marais
Views of Le Marais.

We soon realized that after leaving the confines of the major tourist hubs, we could return to loving this urban ode to romance. In fact, leaving the touristy sites was our plan from the start. We were able to wander to neighborhoods and sights neither of us had spent much — if any — time exploring in the past.

Paris, France
Our apartment’s balcony.

Above all, we had the perfect Airbnb apartment to call home. It straddled Le Marais and Bastille, in one of the city’s hippest corridors at the moment. We were surrounded by boutiques, restaurants, nightlife, and the city’s best outdoor market.

Canal Saint-Martin
Canal Saint-Martin

Our off-the-beaten-path wanderings took us to la Promenade Plantée, better known as the original High Line, since it was built 16 years before its NYC counterpart (and served as its inspiration, in part). Plus, I was completely charmed by the Canal Saint-Martin and the surrounding shops, restaurants, and bars. We wandered the Marché de la Bastille, buying cheese, bread, olives, fresh tomatoes, and other goodies to make a picnic lunch.

Eiffel Tower
That big French tower.

Of course, we still hit up Paris’s greatest hits, strolling past the Louvre, everyone’s favorite tower, and Notre Dame. We even had time to take a few day trips, but more on that later.

Have you been to Paris lately? What are some of your favorite things? Au revoir for now!


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