The first day of my Paris trip starts like all others, with a strong espresso in one hand and a freshly baked pastry in the other. A quick visit to La Parisienne in the 5th Arrondissement is my first stop. I made sure to pick up some classic French chouquettes - small enough to pop into your mouth whole and difficult to stop after just one.
Next up on my itinerary is a walk around the Cathédrale Notre Dame which is just as breathtaking as I remember, the architecture is overwhelming and magnificent. Taking a trip to the adjoining gardens was no less of a treat. I stop off at the famous love lock bridge behind the cathedral and become mesmerised by the romance of it all. I feel slightly out of place but nonetheless, I appreciate the beauty of this romantic tourist attraction. The bridge itself I find ugly, it's more so the stories behind each lock that intrigues me. I often wonder where exactly the thousands of padlocks end up and if those who locked them are still together. It would be nice if couples could return to find their padlocks, reminding them of their memories together in Paris but I very much doubt this is the case as hundreds flock here daily to leave their mark of love and affection.
En route to my next location, I pass through Ile Saint Louis and discovere my favourite cheese shop still open and buzzing as always. You must check out La Ferme Saint-Aubin on your next trip to Paris. I recommend ordering a large slice slice of their classic cheesecake, I guarantee you haven't tasted anything like it before.
I continue my walk over in Le Marais district, stopping regularly to peer in the windows of the quant boutiques. I pause at Huygens on Rue du Temple and take a gander inside. Huygens, for those who haven't heard of it before, is a luxury bespoke cosmetics brand. All products are hand crafted with organic and natural ingredients.
Customers have the option to create their own products, this is a dream come true for people like me, people who like to know what exactly a product contains and the benefits of each ingredient. An experience at Huygens begins at the essential oils counter, where one can choose one of sixteen different oils before moving onto the next stage. The store is set up like a production line making it easy to navigate but due to the selection of ingredients available, it's difficult to settle on just one ingredient from each counter. In the final stage of the process, Huygens take all ingredients, mix them up and produce your finished product moments later. One has the option to create bath, body and haircare products here. You can also indulge in the pre-packaged products which have been carefully created with the customer in mind. A trip to the store is an unforgettable and unique experience.
After Huygens I was, as usual, craving a coffee and soon found myself at Starbucks next to Les Halles. I know I'm in Paris and that I can find some of the best coffee in the world here but one thing I dislike here is the size of the coffees in Paris. It's also super hot and I'm sweating so I order a Grande Iced Coffee and sit down outside to enjoy it in the sun.
Finished with my coffee and time to make my way to Avenue de Breteuil where I'm making a surprise visit to my old colleagues Carine & Catherine. Soon after, the excitement of my surprise arrival has calmed down and I feel like I never left Paris. Before I know it, I'm talking, eating and and living like a Parisian again. I seem to have left my 'personalité Anglais' at Belfast International Airport and here I am now, sitting out on the 9th floor terrace of my friend's apartment in amongst the architecture in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris.
This is a good life and a moment I want to remember for the rest of my life. I relax into my chair, sip my rosé wine and laugh with old friends. Living in the moment for the first time in a long time.
Beautiful as always, thank you Paris for the wonderful memories you create.