Sitting by the Seine

I could tell you what there is to see and do in Paris, but this isn't going to be one of those posts. Rather, I have one other kind of recommendation for you to do when you are there.

It is worth noting that in order to soak up the culture, to experience everything, sometimes all you need to do is walk around and take it all in.

I have been to so many cities in which I've hopped from museum to museum, landmark to landmark, trying to get everything done. There's nothing wrong with that, and I will still go to see the most famous sights in every city that I visit. In hindsight, though, I didn't really take in the streets, the people, or the real culture of said city. Or, in fact, how I felt being there. What I am asking you to do, of course, is to stop and smell the proverbial roses.
While in Paris this Spring I experienced one of the most content feelings that has ever washed over me, a type of real, genuine joy. You could probably say that I'd had a less-than-fantastic year in 2013, and in Paris I finally slowed the hustle and bustle of my usual life to reflect on how, for the first time in a long time, I was actually really happy. Not in a hyper, excited kind of way. In an inner-peace kind of way.

I was in Paris with my right-hand gal, Derve, for four days during the French mid-term break. Sitting by the Seine with our feet dangling dangerously close to the water, we looked all around us and took mental photographs of the scene, hoping it would never slip away from our memories. (We did also take actual photographs, but nothing comes close to remembering the heat of the sun, the hum of the relaxing groups and the scents in the air as they tucked into a picnic...)
 We did go to see a few monuments and attractions, of course, but I will remember nothing like I remember those evenings by the Seine. Our conversations were of a heavy nature, but they didn't seem too heavy anymore, as we looked back at both of our respective years with a feeling of new hope. Paris had inspired us and had set the scene for us to finally appreciate the happiness that had been creeping up on us for some time - while we were too busy to notice it.

A city break doesn't have to be all so busy. Schedule the time to see the attractions that you want to see, but make time for the little things. Having a coffee outside a café, sitting by the Seine or perusing the booksellers' bric-a-brac between each bridge. Chances are those are the things you'll remember the most.

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