What do I love about Paris? There’s a particular kind of soft, persistent rain here called bruine, and when it falls, it covers all that it touches with a fine mist. Wipe it away and it comes right back. It’s everywhere. You can’t escape it, and you wouldn’t want to.
The magic of Paris is simple like that. It’s subtle but impossible to miss. But what my beloved rain is to me, a summer picnic on the Pont des Arts may be to you.
I asked Parisians what they loved most about the French capital, and got different answers from each one, but all with a common theme: a deep passion for the city, and for sharing it with the rest of us.
“I’m half-American, half-French—my parents moved to France when I was 4—but Paris feels like my home turf. After being in New York for two years, I returned to Paris three years ago. I think I’ll always come back. Besides the beautiful aesthetics of the city and the food, the quality of conversations I have with people here is what I love most. This is a very intellectual city.”
“Paris is magic. I love its architecture. There’s beauty everywhere, as much as you can take in. You just turn around and look and fill your eyes. I see it especially when I’m gone for a long time and I come back. All the cities in the world have a soul, but Paris’ is particularly beautiful.”
“As a chef, finding high-quality ingredients here is easy. There are little markets throughout the city with artisans who still make their cheeses and breads in small batches. And everything here serves as inspiration for creating new dishes. Every day, I ride my bicycle past Fondation Louis Vuitton, designed by architect Frank Gehry. It looks like a giant ship – and it inspired me to create my signature dessert at Le Cinq, givré later.”
“When I arrived in Paris in 1988, it was love at first sight. As an artist, I found inspiration everywhere, and 29 years later, I still do. This is a city where you can be fully with others, and also be fully in your own space and time. I wear what I wear, I eat what I eat – keeping aspects of my Indian heritage – and then I take good things from the French culture. Paris lets you live the way you are.”
“When I moved to Paris, the first thing that hit me was the light – as a photographer, it was like being in a candy store. Because of the sandstone buildings, there’s all of this reflective light, and you can photograph anyone, anywhere. I couldn’t stop. I stayed, though, not just for that, but for the strong sense of community. There’s a specific energy you don’t find anywhere else. It’s something my children have benefited from: To speak all of these languages and to have friends from all of these different cultures, it makes them open-minded.”
YOUR JOURNEY BEGINS HERE
What will you find or rediscover in Paris?