Of Crepes and Walking in Paris

Sorry for the hiatus but I’ve been on a lovely vacation to France and England for the past few weeks. I love to travel. Nothing beats exploring and adventuring out in the world. I treasure every opportunity to see more of the world. The next several posts will deal with my thoughts and experiences while across the pond.

On this recent trip, one of the things that I was most excited about doing was having a Nutella crepe on the streets of Paris. There is absolutely nothing like getting a crepe made before your eyes from a little kiosk, usually an open window to a hole in the wall. Dessert crepes made in restaurants just aren’t the same. Part of it is the fresh, hot dough. Then there is the creamy Nutella, often too hot to eat at first. (I’ve burnt my tongue many times).  But I think it’s the atmosphere of the eating experience. I get to eat my crepe while wandering the streets of Paris.

Walking is my absolute favorite activity in Paris (and generally anywhere). Paris is simply a marvel to walk around in.  It’s a cliché but it’s true. The city is beautifully laid out with arching trees lining the streets. Some buildings have art deco influences or reflect theBelle Époque. And then you have the amazing regularity of Baron  Georges-Eugene Haussmann. Buildings from his substantial rebuilding and refashioning of Paris have the same number of levels and balconies. On the first floor, there is a storefront for a business, then a little apartment above it typically for the shopkeeper. Then the next floor is the most magnificent and expensive with a little balcony. There are two more levels of less spectacular apartments and then a final attic of cheaper lodgings (usually servants lived there). The whole ensemble is topped with a arched roof. However, it’s the structure only so the buildings have their own individual characteristics. It’s incredible to see street after street of this structure in the buildings.

Then you have incredible plazas with monuments, notably the Champs-Elysees or the Place de la Concorde. There is such majesty in these plazas. And the bridges are so singular. There is the Pont Neuf with the faces, the golden bridge to Alexander III, and the walking bridge covered in locks.

But there is also hidden magic.  There is wondrous street art, especially in the gallery district. Paris was where I saw my first piece by street artist Space Invader. Now, his work appears to be put behind Plexiglas. Even the streetlamps are notable; some are covered in gold, others are have magnificent curls. And the chocolate shops have brilliant windows, especially during Christmas. This year, one window showcased a chimpanzee made from chocolate. Another showed a buxom Mrs. Claus.  A walk in any weather in Paris makes you understand why the Impressionists spent so much time there.

Also, we discovered a lovely walking tour company called Paris Walks (there is a sister company in London) led by English ex-pats. It is an extensive two hour walking tour for nine Euros (really good price). They cover different sections of the city like the Marais or time like the Resistance. Last year, we did three walks in two days. They even got me to enjoy Hemmingway!

Walking in Paris with a Nutella crepe has to be on the finer pleasures in life.

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