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Dear Grandma,

Although Barcelona was an amazing city I really couldn’t wait for these two days. Paris – my teenage dream destination. I knew I have to visit this city.

After getting to the hotel I didn’t even rest for a while, I didn’t want to lose a minute of my time here. So I left my bags, grabbed my jacket and camera and went out.

I chose to not tick the boxes with all sightseeings but rather to experience this incredible city, without any particular plan.

For half a day I was just wandering around, walking the streets, observing people and imagining how it would feel like to live here. I loved the rush and crowd, although the number of tourist was really overwhelming. They were everywhere. You could see them even in some small streets that have no tourist attractions. Well, I’m one of them as well. What I loved the most were all the bakeries, coffee shops and little stores. It’s so different from our mall culture. And the architecture is just beautiful. Even not knowing a lot about Paris you can feel the surrounding history. All the bridges, gates, buildings. This city is just beautiful.

I had so much pleasure just walking the streets and parks, simply observing everyday life.

Of course I couldn’t resist a small stop in one of the enchanting cafes.

I sat outside by the small table and was just happy to be here. First I ordered a board of cheese and a glass of wine. I wanted to feel like a Parisian at least for a while. It was delicious, and every cheese had completely different flavour. I tried some delicious macconais and a bit of creamy camembert. I loved the Tomme de Brebis.

However French servings seems really tiny so without any guilt I ordered something sweet to fill my stomach. I was thinking about creme brulee but since it’s not my favourite desert I figured it won’t make a big difference even if it’s the original one. Instead, following recommendation of a waiter, I ordered Clafoutis. Oh, Grandma, it was scrumptious. Black cherries sinked in something resembling light creamy pudding was just perfect. It was definitely the highlight of my day.

From there I went for a walk through famous Champs Elysees. Although it’s a beautiful promenade, it was much too crowded for me, so I decided to change the route and went to see the Eiffel Tower. It was different than I thought. After seeing all that beautiful streets and buildings, this steel construction somehow didn’t impress me. It’s big and unique, for certain, but apart from the size i didn’t find anything appealing in it. However my lack of love to the tower might also be caused by the fact that I was climbing the stairs for almost an hour to get to the top. I was exhausted. But the view was absolutely worth it. I was lucky it was sunny and the panorama of the city was wide and clear. I was just standing on the observation deck and absorbing the city for a long time. I definitely love Paris.

It was enough for me for one day. I was tired already of walking for most of the day but also because of an early flight that I took from Barcelona. So I decided to call it a day and came back to the hotel. I just bought a baguette with ham and cheese on my way, and after return I literally absorbed it and went straight to sleep.

I woke up fresh and ready for another day of exploring. I decided to continue my previous pattern and just wander around. The only place I absolutely needed to visit was Louvre Museum.

It took me a while to get in as the ques are extremely long. But inside I took my time and went slowly from room to room stopping by by every piece that I liked. When I finally get to the place where Mona Lisa was exhibited  I was surprised how small the painting is. And with a crowd of people in front of it I thought it’s very overrated. Until I managed to get through to have a closer look. At that moment I understood all the interest. There is something magnetic about it, that doesn’t let you take your eyes of it. Maybe it’s the depth of her eyes, or maybe that mysterious smile, but you really want to stand there and stare. I am sure it has that impact not only on me.

After a while I moved to make space for other people to see Mona Lisa at close range but I didn’t want to leave the room yet. When I was standing in the corner I noticed a woman that was not much less magnetic than Mona Lisa. She was standing close, so I could have a good look. She was rather short, slim, had blond hair tied in a ponytail, was wearing dark blue pants and beige sweater. Her nails were short and painted with transparent enamel. She had no cleavage and obviously was far from American canon of beauty but she seemed so interesting and feminine. Suddenly she noticed that I was looking at her and approached me.

  • Hi, I’m Marie, is there anything I can help you with? – she asked.

I’m certain that my face was red as an apple, I was so embarrassed.

  • Hi, I’m Kate – I introduced myself – I’m sorry for staring. I’m here for just two days and am really admiring french culture and alo french femininity. I love how beautiful minimalism can be, you don’t show off with clothes or lack of them – I laughed – but when you enter a room everybody notices.
  • Thank you – said Marie and smiled. – It has nothing to do with minimalism, but all with self esteem. We don’t need flashy clothes to attract attention.
  • It seems so easy, yet it’s so difficult. – I replied – I’m quite sure that if I wear the same clothes as you do, no one would even look at me.
  • Never say such things about yourself. Clothes doesn’t matter. Even in sweatpants you are still a woman. Just make sure they are clean – we both laughed.
  • But how do you do it? – I asked her
  • First of all I don’t question my femininity, I know I am attractive but I don’t spend my days thinking about it. I wear clothes that I like, that I feel comfortable in and on a daily basis I don’t put attention to anything more than to look decent and comfortable. – she said.
  • But then how can you be sure that men find you attractive? That they pay attention to you? – I was really puzzled.
  • My dear, I am not bothered by what men, or anyone else for that matter, thinks. I am who I am, I have a body that I was given so I don’t see a point of stressing out about it. I have so many better things to do. If I go on a date I put effort to look tempting, which I expect from a man as well. But I wouldn’t like to waste my time on considering what might men on the street think about my outfit every day. – said Marie. – I am me, I am unique, i have my work and hobbies, my life. I am interesting, like every human being.
  • I guess you are right. – I must have sounded insecure, because Marie added:
  • Look, people are like puzzles. Some of them fit well, others don’t. Instead of trying to please everyone, isn’t it better to be yourself and stick to people who like you and who want to spend time with you? For who you really are not for the role you are playing? What do you need the rest for? It’s you who have to be comfortable in your life. You have only one goal – to make your life happy. So let others do and think what they want, and just focus on yourself. You will see that it’s the best path – she said. Then she noticed that her friend just arrived and said goodbye.

I stayed there for another half an hour looking at Mona Lisa and processing Marie’s words.

I am certain that my memories from Paris will be not only great food and beautiful monuments but this conversation as well.

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