Paris, Encore


Anyone getting tired of the annual homages to Paris that you see on this blog? I hope not. And if so, just skip the next few days' worth of posts.

I visited Paris for the first time in 2008, and have been back four times since, once for work but mostly for pleasure. It's quite something to have an almost unrealistic fantasy-like image of a place, then to actually see it live up to your own hype. And it's again something else to get to know it, like somewhat of an insider, seeing its warts and all.

This most recent trip two weeks ago took me to some must-see places, both old and new. And yes, Paris has its warts. Seeing some of the abject poverty and homeless people is still jarring, particularly coming from Amsterdam where it is less visible (whether that means it's less of a problem, I'm not sure). It is easy - perhaps too easy - to not even see the Parisian homeless, with all the amazing things to see in every arrondissement.

Alors, among the new: Day 1 meant a visit to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, an urban park of rolling hills, dramatic rocks, and even the odd waterfall. The colours were just starting to change too. A great new place to check out, get some fresh air and walk off the morning's excess pastry intake.

Also enjoying his first day at the park was a 3-month old dog we came across whose owner told us was seeing grass for the first time ever. Watching this little white ball go nuts with sheer joy was a highlight of the trip - makes you think about the last time you enjoyed a first time doing something, and serves as a good reminder to seek out some new first times.

No photos of the little guy, unfortunately - too busy petting him and fending off his happily savage bites - but he looked something like this, except with grass on him:

And now for the rest of the park...