Language of Love
The next morning I found myself in a crowd of travelers from all over the world. Though this isn’t a strange occurrence in Paris, it was a special one, because we were all appreciating Le mur des je t’aime, or the Wall of Love. This mural, tucked away in a small park in the neighborhood of Montemarte, features written “I love you”s in more than 250 languages. It took me a few minutes to locate the English inscription, as I was more interested in the findings of the other visitors. While I could understand the Spanish “te amo” (upper right-hand corner) and the French “je t’aime” (left center), people were posing next to phrases so foreign to me that I could not even identify their region of origins. There is still so much of the world to experience!
Passages of Paris
Breaking away from the gathering, I navigated towards the River Seine via a few of Paris’s passages, from Passage Verdeau, to Passage Jouffroy, eventually reaching the most well-known, Passage des Panoramas. These “hidden” hallways house restaurants, boutique shops, and everything in between. I enjoyed the afternoon in quirky antique stores and sophisticated photo galleries.
I followed the walkways down to my next location, “Les Deux Plateaux,” an art installation in the courtyard of the Royal Palace. Though Daniel Buren’s work has been present here for more than 30 years, I had only recently discovered these funky fixtures.
Exiting the courtyard, I ended up just in front of La Comédie – a cafe that I had visited with my family on my last trip to Paris – and realized just how hungry I was! Torn between wanting to try a new restaurant and returning to this reliable café, I ultimately decided to stay. Compromising, I ordered a different meal, this time, the three-cheese quiche. A self-proclaimed quiche connoisseur, I eat a lot of this dish. My mom’s quiche is creamy, smooth, and moist, while my dad’s is dense and cheesy. I enjoy both of my parents’ signature quiches, but La Comedies’ version was one of the best I’ve ever had. Seriously, amazing. Granted, I hadn’t yet eaten that day, and was (and still am) slightly appalled at the 14€-a-serving price tag, but this slice of heaven was worth it.
An appropriate way to spend an evening in Paris, I went department store hopping, appreciating French fashion in the capital of all things chic. The Galeries Lafayette (Haussman), as I’ve previously praised, is always worth a visit, at the very least for the free, panoramic views. Expanding my retail tourism, however, I also explored Le Bon Marché, another popular Parisian shopping destination. Though much less architecturally impressive than the Galeries Lafayette, this mini mall did have a funky, concept store section and a cool, vinyl record cafe.
Only have time for one? Galeries Lafayette. Not only is it’s location is more convenient, near the center of Paris, its glass dome and rooftop views rival the beauty of any other attraction in the city.
- Time of day matters. When visiting the passages of Paris, consider when you choose to go. If you arrive too early, or on a Sunday, many of the shops will be closed and the entire effect of the attraction will be missed. You may skip crowds going at off-peak times, but I think that the skinny passages are in their full glory at mealtimes, when people are packed into cafés and window shopping, walking off the fantastic French fare.
- Souvenir fail. One of my favorite shops in the passages was Paris est une Photo. Though I appreciated his photography, I was more inspired by the old postcards mingling with the photos. DO NOT BUY 12€ MOUNTED POST CARDS FROM THIS SHOP. Five minutes down the hallway, I came across multiple shops selling vintage postcards for 1€ each, or less, and not just one or two shoeboxes full, but at least 10. I’m usually a smart shopper, scanning all my options before going back to get the item I liked best, but of course I lost on this sole, spontaneous purchase.
- Wall of Love
- Square Jean Rictus, Place des Abesses, 75018 Paris
- Passage Verdeau
- Passage Jouffroy
- Passage des Panoramas
- Paris est une Photo
- 55 Passage Jouffroy, Paris, 75009 Paris
- Les Deux Plateaux
- La Comédie
- 157 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
- Galeries Lafayette (Haussman)
- 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
- Le Bon Marché
- 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
Paix, Amour, Paris,