Stunning France has a timeless appeal, with its amazing wine, fabulous food and incredible history.
They say there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about France and I can’t help but agree – from makeshift picnics with delicious wine to spirited conversations in Parisian cocktail bars, I always feel joyful in France.
While there’s no bad way to enjoy the country, experiencing it with help from a local adds so much – especially in Paris. While there’s, of course, the beautiful sights that everyone knows about, there is also much in the city that is far from the pages of a guidebook.
That’s why I was so glad to arrive at the home of Aurelie, who welcomed me to her 11th arrondissement apartment with a warm smile and traditional kiss on each cheek. Like most Parisian apartments, hers was compact but effortlessly stylish. I noticed lots of books on her bookshelf and knew we would get along.
Over the next three days, I loved exploring the more hidden sights of Paris on her recommendation. I visited a market in front of the Palais de Tokyo, buying as many cheeses as I could carry and heading to the gardens of the Pallais Galliera for a makeshift picnic.
Arriving at the Marché de Barbès market under a train line took a bit more navigation on the Metro but was an amazing opportunity to see a true local market and pick up some affordable souvenirs, including a beautiful scarf.
I also headed out to Bercy on the city’s outskirts, a place historically associated with wine. I walked through the beautiful Promenade de Plantée with its Roman aqueduct and plethora of flowers. Once I got to the end, a stop in at a cute little bistro to enjoy a glass of French champagne and a croissant seemed only fitting.
Perhaps my favourite experience, however, was when Aurelie took me to a cabaret and dinner show in Montmartre. The food was absolutely delicious, and the comedians and singers were so entertaining (even though I had to work hard to follow along in my rudimentary French!)
The best part of the night, however, was simply chatting with Aurelie about live in France and Australia, as well as everything else we could think of. Books, music, our careers and plans for the future – it all came up over a glass (or two) of Bordeaux. It felt so nice to feel like I had a real friend in beautiful Paris.
After three wonderful days in the city, it was time for me to head on. Leaving with wonderful memories of my stay and a promise to keep in touch, I knew I’d definitely be back one day.