1. The Arc De Triomph, September 2006. It’s almost incomprehensible to me that my one and only visit to Paris was as long as nine years ago! In truth, the French capital had never been high on my bucket list; in fact I’d always felt indifferent about it. But then, buoyed by the Dopamine-fuelled honeymoon period of a new relationship, suddenly a trip to The City of Love felt like the thing to do. One of the first things we did was climb The Arc De Triomph for this city panoramic. Having reached the summit, I admittedly found myself wondering why I hadn’t come sooner.
2. The Eiffel Tower, September 2006. The Eiffel tower is so iconic that when you actually see it in the flesh it can feel a little surreal, as if someone plonked it onto the skyline with a large blob of glue. A sobering recollection of my visit, in light of recent atrocities, is that there were a scattering of rifle-carrying soldiers stationed around the entrance. I remember wondering if they were really necessary. As with The Arc De Triomph, the views from the top are fantastic. This shot was taken mid-climb.
3. Jardin des Tuileries: September 2006. Located between The Louvre and Place de la Concorde, this historical city park has been allowing riff raff like me in since 1667. Our aimless sauntering saw us bump into this affable old artist, whose playful paintings of everyday Paris life charmed me so much I ended up purchasing one of his pieces. It’s currently boxed up in my parents’ attic in Scotland, along with my other paintings.
4. Place René Cassin: September 2006. Have you ever pined for a seventy-ton abstract sculpture of a giant head resting on a massive sandstone hand? Well fear not, Paris has got you covered. You don’t have to go out of your way to find it either, it’s right outside the Gothic St. Eustache Church. The sculpture is called L’Écoute and was made by Henri de Miller. Translated to English as simply Listen, I couldn’t actually hear anything, despite my best efforts. But to this day I feel sure that if it could speak, it would have begged me to take this touristy photo.
5. Grand Bassin Octagonal, September 2006. We were blessed with the weather that long ago weekend. And we weren’t the only ones who noticed; tourists and locals alike taking advantage of the green chairs that snaked their way around the water to chat, nap, rest their feet or simply gaze up at the clouds. And if this shared memory doesn’t exactly set the pulse racing, I make no apologies. Rather, I thank my lucky stars that I left Paris with memories like this. That my experience was not punctuated by gunfire, screaming, unspeakable fear and unimaginable confusion. And, needless to say, that I made it safely back home.
For more on my French adventures, take a look at my article on Lille.