Well, it’s hardly surprising. When was a city like Paris so often filmed, photographed, fêted, painted, hymned, sung about, written up, talked up, dreamed of, reported, coveted? Its museums and monuments are household names all over the world, its way of life – something to do with long lunches, red wine, café terraces, cigarette smoke, illicit liaisons – a byword. Paris? It’s been around forever.
« Paris sera toujours Paris », warbled Maurice Chevalier.
Whereas Rick did his hard-boiled best to comfort Ilsa with the notion that they would ‘always have Paris’; and Oscar Wilde reckoned Paris was the place good Americans go to when they die. Mention the French capital, it seems, and forever-ness – ‘always’, ‘toujours’ – is never far behind.
And yet familiarity poses a challenge: to see the eternal clichés for what they are – nice things, but far less than the whole picture. In our view, you should take Paris as you might a detective novel, riddled with all-too-obvious clues. In other words, look again, and look harder. on your first visit, you’ll have a strong mental picture of the place; try, if at all possible, to erase it.
And another piece of advice: if at all possible, even haltingly, even in pidgin French, talk to the locals. In most cases, especially in the already-convivial setting of bars and cafés, Parisians are much friendlier than their reputation for aloofness suggests. Do all this, and you’ll take home memories and knowledge that your friends and colleagues will never have. Most of the writers of this guide have lived in Paris for years, and each will tell you that new finds and surprises are a weekly, if not daily occurrence. ‘J’ai deux amours’, sang Josephine Baker, born in Missouri and resident for most of her life in the French capital: ‘mon pays et Paris’. Two loves – home and Paris. You won’t have to spend much time in this city before you see what she meant.Research : - paris city - city of paris -