I’ve recently spent 24 hours in Paris, but most of that time I was busy, so my actual “tourist time” equaled 3 hours. Do 3 hours in one of the world’s major cities mean anything?

Paris

Paris is exactly like the songs, books and movies that sing it praises. Prior to this trip I’d been there only once, when I was 9, so I had little memory of it. It was like starting anew.

I studied French in high school, the time when everyone falls hopelessly in love with either Paris or London or both. We’re young and very prone to idealizations (some of us still haven’t grown out of it). How could you not idealize Paris and France when you were constantly exposed to Joe Dassin‘s uplifting and carefree music and stylish French New Wave films? Riding your bicycle in Paris, speaking French, having breakfast at a corner café with your best friend. In that sense, Paris was always a dream.

The only touristy thing I did in Paris was this: I took a walk from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde on the Champs-Elysées and I understood there was so much of Paris beyond that for me to see, but it also felt very real because it actually was Paris, albeit commercial, touristy etc. I waited at Ladurée for 30 minutes to try the original macarons, only to discover they’re not exactly the heavenly goodness everyone makes them out to be, and I regretted having lost so much time there (or at least not getting some of their chocolate instead).

Paris is like London, only much more beautiful (both of them don’t stand a chance compared to New York). When I say beautiful, I mean it. The architecture is to die for, which had somehow vanished from my childhood memory and I didn’t expect it. It makes you feel lucky just to be there, as if you’re in a museum.

My 24 hours in Paris wouldn’t be complete without a short night walk around the 8th district. Cities are always more magic at night. At 11PM, Paris was calmer than I’d expected. Calmer, but definitely not calm. If it were calm, it wouldn’t be Paris.

P.S. Updates on Cityfinity have been sporadic not due to lack of time but lack of material. I haven’t been traveling much lately and needed some new inspiration.

7 comments

  1. I call this “hit and run” trips. You are there so little time that you can’t do anything. My worst nightmare would be a day in New York. Or in other therms ”What do you do, what do you do!?”

    1. New York – exactly! I once actually did have a dream I was in NYC for 24 hours and of course it turned into a nightmare because the drive to and from JFK airport is not short so I lost time. Not to mention for some weird reason I also needed to fit in a visit to Roosevelt Island (where I lived in 2008). :D

      Now you got me thinking … what would I *really* do if I were in NYC for one day?

  2. I agree Paris cant compare with NYC (Ive just been there again the past wekend) but for me it holds a close second place.

    If were in NYC for 24 hours I would (if it would be my first time in NYC): sit on Times Square, walk around midtown, watch sunset on Brookly Heights, go to Guggenheim museum (not in the museum, just to see it from the outside), walk around the south part of Central Park and that would probably be that.
    Now that I know NYC pretty well I would: sit on Times Square, go to Guggenheim, spend some time on Union Square, walk accross Brooklyn Bridge, have a beer with my friends from NYC, walk aroun Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, eat banana puding from Magnolia Bakery and just enjoy spending time in the parks with my boyfriend:-)

    1. If I were in NYC for 24 hours, and it were my first time there, I’d probably panic and not do anything intelligent. :D The thing with cities is that you really don’t know anything about them (and therefore aren’t able to make good decisions what to see) if you haven’t been there for at least a few days.

  3. What are your favourite things to do in NYC? Im looking for the things I have to try/ideas for the next time:-)

    1. It’s hard to think of things when you already know NYC so well! :) My general favorite thing to do in NYC was take the subway and get off at random Manhattan/Brooklyn (I don’t like Queens too much) stops, then walk around. New York is great for just walking around aimlessly.

      One of the best places to walk around is Lower East Side (around Orchard Street), in the evenings it has a sort of uncanny but still lovely atmosphere, not to mention all the vintage shops. Also, have you ever been to Coney Island? If not, you definitely should go. It takes about 2 hours to get there by subway (it’s the last stop of F, Q and some other trains). For the last half an hour you can hear Russian only. Coney Island really spoke to me. To me, it’s “the end of the world”. I still have the sea shells I collected there when the wind was so strong my hands almost froze.

  4. Yeah, I ve been to Coney Island once in the summer. I even swam in the see. And I want to go again when I will be there in April. Because the first time I didnt stop along the way there and Ive read in Lonely Planet that there are interesting neighbourhoods along the way.

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