A Lifestyle blog based in Sonoma County, in the heart of Wine Country. Amber is an outspoken voice for local activism, local wine tourism, and more.

Autumn Strolls in Paris

Returning to Paris feels like coming home; much like one would return home for a holiday break. I see my friends, visit familiar cafes (and waiters), I shop at the same grocery stories, and restock on my skincare favorites that I can't seem to find stateside. This particular trip was very different as it was my first Paris Fashion Week, and I was in the city for nearly two weeks by myself. I must say; Paris is glorious in the fall.

Whenever I travel back "home", I have a tradition of visiting the Pont des Arts bridge on my last evening in the city (I have mentioned this before). I have so many magical stories that have come about because of this: a gentleman dancing me in the rain in January, a midnight dance party on a hot September evening, and of course, the boy who kissed me. The bridge holds many memories.

As joyous as I am to return, the truth is I am often alone, and at times lonely on these visits. My first true travel partner and now ex-boyfriend have parted, and gone our own separate ways. I now travel alone and as a result I often find myself isolated. I still see my friends and familiar faces in Paris, of course. But these people have their own lives and schedules; they are kind enough to fit me in when they can, and set me up with new friends when they are unavailable themselves.

But...if one must be lonely, why not be lonely in one of the most incredible cities in the world? Why not be lonely among art, and the Haussmans, and tree lined boulevards, and gardens, and darling cafes? I have found that if I can brave the loneliness for just a little while, it eventually fades. Soon I find myself engrossed in my surroundings, making up silly songs in my head, petting Montmartre kitties on the cobblestone streets, and quietly taking notes of new favorite floral shops in various arrondisements. However I must strike a careful balance of alone time and socializing: if I am alone too long, the "independent traveler" will begin to shift to isolated melancholy.

People watching is a favorite Parisian pastime, and something I thoroughly enjoy. It usually leads to a great story too. What happens is this: I simply arrive to a certain place, and wait. It's an instinct and I often do not realize what is happening, or what I am doing, until it has already been done: I will arrive to a place, and simply wait. For what I never know; this is how many of my favorite Parisian stories have begun.

Related: I Miss Paris 

On my last two trips I have become incredibly ill; Parisian weather can be hard to predict, usually with a wide range of temperatures occurring during my stays. My body can't handle it, apparently. During the last two days of last years trip I was forced to take to my bed, barely able to get up and move throughout my 6th floor apartment. I remember feeling so trapped in my own body: to be in a city I constantly longed for, only to have my body betray me. Still, I made it to my bridge for my last evening, and I am glad I was able to keep the tradition alive. Even if I felt like I was dying 😷

I arrived home from Paris on October 4th, and the Wine Country Fires started late in the evening on the 8th. As a result, much of my Paris trip and Paris Fashion Week seems as though it was years, if not worlds away instead of just a few months ago. Its frustrating - I didn't keep a journal during my visit; and in many ways I felt as though I had to fight to keep the wonderful memories of the trip alive. Now that a year has passed, I find that the memories are still there. French friends are beginning to ask when I plan on returning, and it is such a wonderful feeling to be missed and asked after by some truly wonderful people.

Travel must-have: WiFi

Next year I get to experience Paris in a new season: Spring! Up until last year I had only experienced Paris in the winter and summer (I spent a lovely fall in the South of France some years ago), and I loved watching the leaves change last Autumn. Now I'm ready to watch the trees blossom and see the city in full bloom. If songs have been written about springtime in Paris, I imagine the city must be a sight to see. I will be there for two full weeks, and I am thrilled.

Currently I am having a difficult time trying to imagine how I spend my time there: will I remain the two full weeks in the city? Or should I venture out via the train and explore? I have always wanted to see Mont-St-Michel, the city of Lyon, and the Bordeaux region (though arguably this would be better seen in the autumn, or right after the Crush). But then the desire to simply remain in Paris and live as a local for two weeks has it's own strong attractions. 

Decisions, decisions. What is a girl to do?
© A•Mused

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A Mused Blog | A Northern California Sonoma County Blog