Paris Je T'aime

Written by Yaron Schoen May 14, 2012

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It's a brisk European morning, Adva and I are walking in the streets of Paris looking for a place to eat. But not just any place, we want croissants. Fresh croissants. The ones locals eat. Not some stupid touristic croissants I can find in New York. No, we want the real deal. It's not easy since our hotel is in a rather main area that is filled with merchants selling small Eiffel Tower key chains and posters of Pepe Le Pew. So we start walking. We're not really sure where we're going, but the general direction is north. We walk until we leave the street vendors and camera happy, fanny pack wearing crowd behind us. Yup, we are determined. Next thing we know, we are lost in Paris.

It's Sunday on a long holiday weekend, so most of the streets are quiet and empty. Even though we're starving, we find ourselves mesmerized by our surroundings. The narrow alleyways, lined with the most amazing Haussmann style houses. French flags blowing in the air. A random dude clutching a baguette in a brown bag under his arm, rushing to get somewhere. Everything is so French.

After walking through the alleyways for a while, we finally get to an open area. We arrive at Les Invalides. This is my first encounter with one of Paris' monuments. Boy, they sure don't build 'em like this any more. The beauty, fine details, perfect symmetry and sheer size of it is astonishing. But that was only the beginning. We quickly realize that the entire area is filled with magnificent palaces aligning perfectly through the avenues and streets ahead. This is insane. I've been to many places in the world, but I've never seen such architectural perfection. I think to myself, only a country with a monarchical history could ever produce such beauty.

But what about the croissants?! We are starving. We decide to leave the area and enter the small alleyways again to find our small local bakery. We shall return to the glorious palaces, but only after we drench our bellies with butter and philo dough.

It's now 11am and people are starting to wake from their lazy Sunday mornings. No point in asking the locals where we can find a good bakery since we don't know French and they hate English. I love that about them.

In the corner of my eye I see some activity going on outside a small corner shop down the street. This is a good sign. We rush towards the crowd only to find the smallest most French bakery I have ever seen. Jackpot!

We quickly enter the small busy bakery and the smell of the fresh croissants, pastries and baguettes immediately makes me salvate. Excusing our French, we try to order a few croissants and through hand signals, smiles, head gestures and some help from the people in the line behind us, we finally get what we want. Fresh, local French croissants.

We decide to take our glorious pastries, go back to the palaces and eat there. We find an empty bench in a small open park, sit down and dig in. My god. So this is what heaven tastes like? Sitting in the open, brisk air, looking at these marvels of architecture, eating the most amazing and authentic pastries in the world with the woman I love. No work in mind, no internet to distract me, no emails to check, no design problems to solve. Only life. Now. This moment. You wanted inspiration Yaron? Well here you go. Who could ask for more?

Of course the pigeons think they'll get some of our goodies. Not gonna happen birds. This time I'm keeping every last crumb to myself.

I instantly fall in love with Paris.

Written in New York. © 2013