The second the airplane wheels hit the ground you’re already dreaming of that fresh croissant you’ll buy. That is, once you make it past the hundreds of kilometers of people also waiting in line at customs. You hail an overpriced taxi to the 7th arrondissement, warm croissant melting in your mouth, the Eiffel Tower emerges in all its beauty in front of your very eyes.
A vegan leather jacket on a snazzy moped zoom past you - one glove on the wheel, the other, a cigarette in hand. The French for all their efforts at keeping slim figures and unnecessary chemicals from their produce, can’t seem to knock the habit of smoking. What makes it even worse, they look cool doing it too - ugh are your lungs going to take a hit for this trip.
That’s just the thing though, for all that’s touted of Paris, what people fail to mention are the stenches. And oh boy are there ever so many... The sewage system wafts through the air, the poodle discharge in the middle of the sidewalk, and that funk floating up from the crowded métro car.
It doesn’t matter though, you came here to feel alive (and perhaps slightly suffocated) in the City of Love.
Yet for every perturbing smell, there is a sight so decadent that you forget the distractions. Sure the Eiffel Tower is a glittering spectacle that is not to be missed. But have you ever strolled down the Champs-Élysées with a petite box of macarons from Ladurée? That, my friends, is when you start to feel the city sweep you off your feet. You wander onto the Place de la Concorde and watch the world drive by. It is here that the remarkable stories from World War II to the French Revolution have come to life.
Don’t get me wrong. Start strolling into other neighborhoods, and you’ll soon discover that life isn’t the movie you’ve made it out to be in Paris. But it is that brief bliss that you feel while cruising down the River Seine, violins in tow - that if only for a moment makes reality melt away.
Sure there are smells, strikes, and unabashed sights. But the city is still a snowglobe come to life, and worth the trip by every mile. Just to feel the twinkling of the Eiffel Tower. To sit, red wine in hand, and watch the people saunter by. To know you are sitting in the most glamorous city of them all...c’estincroyable. So tell me, will you be on the next flight out?