I remember the first time I visited Paris. It was everything I hoped it would be. Charming. Romantic. Just like the movies.
On the day I arrived I did what I normally do on the day I arrive anywhere. I boarded a red bus tour. It’s a quick and easy way to get the lay of the land to map out what you really want to do for the rest of your stay.
I ticked all the boxes on that trip. Went up the Eiffel. Ate a crêpe. Got shouted at by a local. Ate a crêpe. Got lost on the subway. Ate a crêpe. Shopped on the Champs Elysées (for a t-shirt that said “Paris”). Ate McDonalds (maybe it tastes different in Paris?). Saw the Mona Lisa. Ate a crêpe.
I left the city 5 days later with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Thinking that I had seen all of Paris. Loving her even more. And accepting that I would never again be able to stand the sight of crêpes.
I’ve been lucky enough to return to Paris a few times. And it’s on the most recent visits that I decided to do everything but see the usual sites. The game was to find a Paris with no Eiffel Tower. Or tourists.
And that’s when my love for Paris went from flirtation to passionate affair.
I made discoveries that turned into favorites. I found a tiny coffee place I now visit on every trip. In a country that treats breakfast like an incidental occurrence, I found a place that does the best breakfast I’ve had anywhere I’ve travelled. I found areas to photograph that (gasp!) don’t have the Eiffel tower in the background. I’ve been to restaurants that don’t have crêpe on the menu. And I met Parisians who are happy to engage in conversation (because I made promises that my French lessons kick off at the end of January).
It’s the same with coffee.
There’s nothing wrong with you having instant coffee. There’s nothing wrong with you having filter coffee. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with you enjoying Nespresso. It’s just that you’re having a flirtation. While you could be having an affair.
Cover image by This Edition