Strolling through Paris
I would like to introduce you to my guest-blogger Mike with his blog “AIMLong”. Mike and his family are missionaries in France originally from Canada. A few weeks ago I attended the #WeekendCoffeeShare and read his post on beautiful flower arrangements at a French castle. I liked it and I started to follow.
Do you enjoy traveling? I do and there is always something very special about Paris.
I vaguely remember my first visit to Paris, back in 1988: It was one of those “Do as much as you can in a day-and-a-half” kind of visits.
- Quick, quick, quick…. Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the Catacombs, Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre (well… maybe just to see the Mona Lisa), the Garnier Opera…. Versailles is out of town? Oh dear!
- Eat? No time to sit & eat… Let’s just grab a jambon-beurre to eat on the metro.
- Souvenirs? Yes please. Sidewalk vendors will do.
- Sleep? Who needs it? We can sleep later. Let’s stay out late to see the Eiffel Tower lit up and get up early for fresh pain au chocolat…. so much to see & do!
The word “relaxation” has absolutely nothing to do with a visit like that and one can definitely not speak about “strolling”…. there’s no time to stroll. Visits like the one I did in 1988 are more akin to Olympic sprinting!
In those days, I was younger and since Paris was not exactly “la porte d’à côté” (right next door) from my native Canada, who knows when I would get back, so sprint we did!
These days, I stroll.
- I stroll because, living in France now, Paris is closer and more accessible,
- I stroll because I’m not the 18 year old I once was,
- I stroll because I’ve seen many of the “must-see” sights, but perhaps more importantly…
- I stroll because strolling is a quintessentially typical Paris experience!
Wide avenues, expansive parks with their winding pathways and river-side quais all invite you to walk leisurely and breathe in all that is Paris. At every turn there is a spot to pause, take in a breathtaking skyline, snap a photo or have a private-public conversation; public in that you are surrounded by hundreds of people but private because they are all strolling past, just like you… some are even sprinting, they surely won’t overhear.
Strolling, you’ll catch a whiff of the warm viennoiseries that the corner baker has just taken from his oven for display. You may see the commerçant rolling out his racks of postcards and setting up a table or two on which to serve un p’tit café.
Of course, we always have the choice but I would compare the two this way: sprinting merely lets you see Paris, whereas strolling allows you to discover Paris. If you’re going to go… give yourself time to breathe.
“Back to 1988”
Not too long ago I guided a group of 40+ north american young people around Paris.
Their wishlist? In a single day (beginning around 9:30am) see Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur and grab some souvenirs. (All while coordinating transportation with a motor coach as opposed to the metro).
We did not stroll that day.
I didn’t immediately understand their desire to cover so much ground in such a short time. It would leave so little time to enjoy each individual spot. But most of them had never before visited the French capital and most of them were in their late teens & early twenties. They were 1988-me and I had forgotten what it was like to be a first-timer.
I helped them sprint. They loved it …and I’ve been back since, simply to stroll.
Want some strolling resources?
(The links below are for information purposes only, not necessarily endorsements)
- StrollsParis offers customized strolls (among other types of tours) based on your interest.
- Frommer’s travel suggests 5 Great Sunday Strolls in Paris
- About Travel suggests some particularly romantic walks in Paris.
Looking to visit Paris yourself and don’t know exactly where to begin. Let me help you.
My Kindle eBook, Paris 3 Days No Stress, is a travel guide for those wanting to discover Paris on their own and not be overwhelmed by some of the huge travel guides out there. It’s just under 100 pages and is available on Amazon.
Mike Long is a Canadian pastor living in France and who blogs over at AIMLong.ca. He loves God, his family, small backyard animals, travel and mobile photography.
He is grateful for the opportunity to guest-post for Maria here on Health from one Heart to Another