“Paris at night. I step out of the restaurant into darkness. It is a sensual experience. I recognise no one. I stumble. I hear the voice of a man I am sure I could have loved, but he vanishes. Mysterious blue and green lights here and there.” – Anaïs Nin, September 1939
In some way or another, I always find myself back in Paris. All sunsets belong to her. All heat. All rain. All shadow. And memories too. My memories belong to Paris. She was unpredictable at best. Romantic, ethereal, but, nonetheless, unpredictable. Paris was sweltering heat and sporadic rain. Daylight that continued into midnight. Midnight that never lasted as long as the day. And once it was dark, it was dark. Much like this desire. The city at night, a maze of shadow, guided by the sole illumination of strewn light, winding tunnels or vagrant passages. I’m forever at her mercy.
I could become lost in her streets, haunted streets. Not haunted by the traditional type of haunting, haunted by life. Moments, not quite frozen-in-time, nor existing in the present. Life, like art and all sensibility, fading. Humanity bending to the will of time. A walk past the rusted opiate le passage du desir. The wall stained with the spirit of those that came before. I often found myself deep in thought about the life that exists behind closed doors. The woman beneath the stoop, smoking. The man on the balcony, smoking. The other draped across the sill. Again, smoking. It’s the city of the forgotten. Of smoke and intensity. And it’s the city to be remembered.
My instinctual need for burrowing came alive again in Paris. Each day was a slightly different rendition of the one that came before. Exploring and photographing in the morning, returning to the apartment at night, to write and rest. Finding the best food haunts. Returning to the best food haunts. I can’t help it. I’m a Scorpio & Sagittarius cusp, we like to bury ourselves in ourselves. But here’s to metamorphosis.
There were too many places discovered and loved during this trip. And there are plenty more places still to see, too. This is just a short, condensed list, of my essentials from this trip (not listed in any particular order & mostly based around the Marais and Saint Germain areas, because that’s where we chose to stay). Places that, possess something special. Places that, I, will always return to. Use them to guide your own list, and, if you wish, share your favourites in the comments below too! We all benefit from each other’s knowledge.
i. Du Pain et des Idees, ii. Liberté, iii. Ernest et Valentin, iv. Pierre Hermé, v. Boulangerie Bo, vi. Karamel, vii. L’eclair de Genie, viii. Sadaharu Aoki, ix. Boneshaker Doughnuts, x. Rose Bakery, xi. Berthillon
Thank you to all the people that chose to share their knowledge about the city too. Your guidance was invaluable. Listed here are Paris guides from a few other bloggers that gave the greatest recommendations and helped inspire: Heidi, Alana, Beth, Shiran