Bringing Paris into my life (without actually visiting…)

One of the things I love best about living in England is the close proximity to mainland Europe and the diverse range of cultures on offer. The option of hopping onto the Eurostar train under the English Channel (thus avoiding the hassle of airports) further increases the appeal of nearby nations such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands as potential destinations. Major cities such as Brussels, Bruges and Amsterdam have proven to make ideal minibreak locations.

Yet as far as cities go, Paris calls me back more than anywhere else. She will always hold a special charm and magnetism all of its own for me, and I know scores of others feel the same way. My first visit was in my early teens and even then I recall feeling wowed by iconic sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe that until then had only been theoretical places featuring in textbooks in French classes at school.

Since then, I have been drawn back several times. Anyone who has been will know that the beauty of Paris extends way beyond the architectural feats of the main tourist attractions. The authentic spirit of the middle ages lives on in her medieval streets, the whole city steeped in history and I can just imagine Bastille day and other events taking place in days gone by…

white concrete building
Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

We prefer to stay in the 11th- by Canal St Martin. Popularised after being featured as a filming location in the hit movie Amelie, it feels like a real residential neighbourhood with Parisians going about their everyday lives rather than simply swarming with tourists in the way that some of the central areas tend to be. Bustling local markets abound with discerning shoppers examining the profusion of fresh produce and interacting with loud, enthusiastic stall holders. Previously working-class neighbourhoods on the banks of the canal have been transformed into more bohemian areas, yet maintaining its status as a home for people of many races, religions and different types of employment.

On our last visit, I loved to idle away time sitting on a bench on the bank of the canal, or standing on one of the pretty green Venetian metal bridges, just people-watching and admiring the oh-so-chic French dames as they purposefully stride along the pavements, heels click-clacking away.

top view of paris city and eiffel tower
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Ah, yes. There is so much j’adore about Paris and France in general. My husband and I had begun making tentative plans to revisit Paris next Spring. For various reasons, the trip is not looking likely any more, le sigh. Yet rather than get downcast about the change of plans, I’ve chosen instead to fix my focus on weaving the essence of Paris into my everyday life. After all, a mini break, although wonderful, lasts a fleeting few days. But if I can successfully spritz my lifestyle with a Parisian influence then I can savour the pleasures as often as I wish.

Here are a few of the ways I intend to infuse my life a la Francais:

  • Browse through my ‘Paris 1001 photos’ book- this is kept permanently on my windowsill to pore over when the mood takes me.
  • Play my French cafe music CD and the Amelie soundtrack in my car.
  • Watch French-language films from the library especially ones that were filmed in Paris.
  • Wear scarves tied in different ways and my Breton striped top.
  • Eat French food- There is so much delicious French food. Baguettes are one of my favourites, with the crusty bread paired with Brie and a salad making a tasty lunchtime meal.

Do you aim to infuse your own life with a particular influence in a similar way? If so, I would love to hear about it. Make my day and leave a comment below 😊

8 thoughts on “Bringing Paris into my life (without actually visiting…)

  1. I’m not sure if my comment posted successfully or not so I thought I’d chance another one just in case!

    Anyway, what I was saying is that I love this approach of having aspects of a culture or country you adore in your life and surroundings – it really makes a difference. I always have little trinkets dotted about from countries/places I’ve enjoyed and love, and it just makes you feel good when you look at them!

    What type of French music do you listen to? A band or singer or something else?

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    • Im glad you did chance a second reply, as the first one didn’t seem to post!
      Oh yes, surrounding yourself with trinkets from your travels is so important isn’t it? I think our experiences and travels shape our sense of identity so much and they help relive the memories when you take the time to focus on them. I’m sure you have loads with the vast amount of travelling you’ve done!

      I mostly listen to traditional French cafe style music… I find it so evocative of bygone eras like the Golden age. The sound of the accordion uplifts me each time I hear it too! Do you listen to any foreign music?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, French café music is the best – there’s a French bistro I adore in central London that is all things French – on Bastille Day they even give you a discount on your order if you wear stripes and a beret for a bit of fun, LOL.

        I do listen to some foreign music, mainly as background noise if I’m working, but to dance to, it’s usually Latin music. Have you heard of Stromae? He’s one of my favourite artists and he speaks French.

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  2. Agree with you – I love Paris! Like you, visited as a teenage student and really did not appreciate the whole French vibe at the time. Since then have traveled back several times with my wonderful husband ( the best was a birthday weekend…I wanted to turn 50 on the Eiffel Tower!) but it is not easy as we are a long flight away. Just returned from a few days in Paris before a river cruise – my first time in Autumn and we loved it! s you said…just strolling around you can feel the history, and the people watching is amazing. Love all the back streets, and enjoy exploring the cemeteries, too !So glad to hear someone else tries to bring that French feeling into everyday life – we do the same with the music, the food, and movies. And…our guest bathroom is PARIS! A Paris street scene shower curtain, Paris photos and decor, a “Paris” clock on the counter, Eiffel Tower soap pump, etc. We love it…and since that bathroom cabinet holds our extra toiletries whenever my husband asks “do we have any shampoo/toothpaste/vitamins..etc.?” , my answer is “did you look in Paris?” It is silly…but fun. Have a map of Paris on the wall in the adjoining bedroom…and a pillow on the bed that says ” Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never be elegant” – Balzac, 1815
    So nice that you are so close and just a train ride away from that magical city…and hope you get there soon and often!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I always enjoy your comments so much, Ann! Although I must admit to feeling very envious of your amazing Paris guest bedroom and I especially LOVE the fact that you refer to it simply as “Paris”!
      Lucky you just getting back from a trip to the city of Light. Will you write a blog post about it?
      An inspiring quote from Balzac and it spurs me on to find a way of returning sooner rather than later, for sure ;).

      Like

      • Will do a blog post on our travel…but have to get my photos organized. Just posted one about a cake I make..with my grandmother’s sifter. Heavy into baking here….one of the things I love about the holidays. I always enjoy your posts…and love communicating with you – glad our paths crossed in cyberspace !

        Liked by 1 person

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