I started coming to Paris to lead bike trips in Europe a couple of decades ago. The company’s office is located in the French capital and just about every trip I lead started there in some fashion. At first, I hated Paris with a passion: it was big, dirty, loaded with tourists, and worse, Parisiens. I would lead trips for 2-4 weeks straight getting used to eating great food, drinking great wine, riding my bike, and being more or less the center of attention. Then, I would return to Paris, alone, turn in my bike, and was required to find (and pay for) my own meals.
Gradually, I began to enjoy Paris for its many charms, but it was not until I got married and had kids that I fell head over heels for the city that I now consider almost a home away from home.
When I was offered a press trip to Burgundy and Beaujolais, I instantly asked if I could add a day onto the front of the trip and visit some dear friends in the city. Arriving yesterday morning and leaving this afternoon, my time in Paris this go around was brief, but I did not feel the need to cram as much as possible in–I find it much more enjoyable to linger in my quartier, to relax and reacquaint.
In years past, I played tourist in the city, hitting all the monuments, standing in the serpentine lines, taking oodles of photos. More recently, my visits to the city are limited to my familiar neighborhood, the Montorgueil Quartier in the 2nd Arrondissment. It is one of the older parts of the city, and has changed considerably over the years that I have been coming here. I am not sure all of the changes are good, but nonetheless it is still my area of the city.
Despite landing with a cold and an incredibly sore back, I ventured out for a walk and to snap a few photos.
This visit to Paris was far too short, but as I mentioned above, I will be back–Paris, like for many, has an incredible power over me and I will return eventually, hopefully soon.