First stop, Paris. Landed at Charles de Gaulle this afternoon and took the train to my hotel in the 1st arrondissement. Metro stop put me out at Les Jardins des Tuileries, about two blocks from my hotel, the Westin Place Vendome. The Westin hotels I’ve stayed in the US don’t look anything like this one (thank you Starwood points!).
Out to walk around and explore, long strolls through the gardens. It’s a chilly day in Paris, so even in May everyone is bundled up with scarves tied around their necks. But it doesn’t deter anyone from being outside, in fact they all seem to revel in it. I love that this much open green space exists here, that such valuable real estate hasn’t been turned into yet more shops or apartments. Today people are open to the sky and the sun, they sit and walk with leisurely abandon (it’s Saturday, what else would they do?) and talk with an intensity that I only seem to see in other countries — solely focused on the person and the conversation at hand. I miss that focus, and I want to cultivate it more.
Here, as in Italy and other European countries, art exists as one with the world. Paris can be gritty, like any other big city, but beauty abounds at every turn and far makes up for the grittiness that you find in some parts. I relish that I can take a few steps and then encounter a marble piece of sculpture that has been here for centuries, and will certainly be here for more.
What do you seek out when you travel?