The key to Paris, a city that is bursting at the seams with artistic and cultural events, museums and unforgettable monuments, is to mix checking off things from the “to-see list” with quiet moments at cafés or parks observing the hustle and bustle of the city or journaling.  It is very easy to be overwhelmed by the pace of the city and the plethora of things to do.  Perfect days are easy to come by in Paris – especially when the weather is as delightful as it has been.  For me, any day that includes time spent in the Luxembourg gardens is a great day.

One exceptionally perfect day that I had started with a walk down the Champs-Élysées towards l’Arc de Triomphe.  Waiting in line for the Arc was a small price to pay for being able to see miles down each Parisian boulevard that Haussman designed.  I love the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe because of its centrality and tranquility.   For people just arriving in Paris, it provides a great opportunity to see the entirety of what Paris has to offer.  In addition, l’Arc de Triomphe gives one a taste of the architectural richness in Paris and the history revealed through its monuments.

After checking off one site on the “to-see list”, I traveled over to the Luxembourg gardens to sit in the sun on a reclining chair – one of my favorite past times.   It’s a great change of pace to be surrounded by flowers, bathe in the sunlight, and enjoy utter relaxation – completely free to people watch or journal about the day’s activities.  This garden makes me feel truly content.

After dinner with my host family at home, I took the metro to the Eiffel Tower to sit on the Champ de Mars with friends.   We were ready for the bubbles of the champagne and the sparkles of the Eiffel Tower.  The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour, on the hour – each time is as good as the last!  At the end of this day, I went to bed feeling truly Parisian!


Katy Zingale

October 20th, 2011