Each and every time I visit Paris, my experiences seem to vary so damn much that I really don’t understand anything about the city at all.
As most Paris mornings do, this one started with a croissant and an espresso on a patio in the sun. Though mid March, the tables were filled and outside was loud and boisterous for a Thursday. The wind was gentle and conversation, like breakfast, was light and lovely. Our day truly began when we started wandering from park to park, arrondissement to arrondissement and boulangerie to cafe.
The first park we went to was the old home to an extreme prison – La Roquette – that was used to keep women and children on lockdown from 1830 all the way to 1974. The park itself was lovely – quaint and quiet with daffodils poking out of the grass and cherry blossom petals all over the ground. Halfway through our sandwiches, a young boy came up to us and told us it was his birthday – he was turning eight, and did eight push-ups just to show us how great being eight really is – and his mother offered us the rest of the birthday cake that they couldn’t finish (it was the most delicious chocolate brownie cake with sprinkles and bananas and smarties and kiwi, clearly a combination of someone’s favourite things). We finished the rest and moseyed on further to Pere Lachaise, wandered around the stunning cemetery and headed north to Buttes-Chaumont (if you’ve never been to Paris, this is the only place you absolutely should go) and watched children run and dogs run and teenagers burn their homework and young kids on benches kissing and old couples on benches kissing. Everyone just lays on the grass and chain smokes cigarettes whether they roll their own or buy them prerolled prefiltered and ready to go – clouds of white smoke rising to the white clouds and the bluest of skies.
Parks make Paris magical. Whoever you talk to, I’m sure you’d get a different answer but there’s nothing quite like wandering through endless city sprawl to get to a beautiful green space filled with cherry trees and orange blossoms and all the tiny dogs. Such a dreamy escape of the ever beautiful (and even moreso ever dirty) city of love.