We’re sat on the roof top of our hostel, drinking strawberry wine and eating bread. The sun is setting and we’re kind of hoping we don’t get kicked out when it gets to 10pm. Chairs are lined in a circle and filled with people from different corners of the globe, and we’re all listening to one kid talk. He’s telling us a story about how he shoots rabbits out of his friend’s dad’s helicopter. I’m laughing so hard and I don’t think I can ever look at a helicopter the same way again.
Sure enough, the sun sets. The sky is painted with pink and purple streaks, and the panoramic view of the city from Belleville is ours alone. We can’t see the Eiffel Tower (it’s slightly obscured by a blue slate roof), but the Sacre-Coeur looks like it’s on fire on top of a hill surrounded by melting golden hues.
All around us I see Parisians go about their lives. It’s just a Tuesday night after all. I can see some sat outside bistros with a pint of beer and I can see some through windows surrounded by flowers, and I see some stride up through a nearby metro entrance. The dusk light paints the exact picture of Paris that I was expecting, and it makes my heart ache just a little to know I’ve only got a short few days to spend here.
Eventually it hits 10 and we’re asked to leave, so we head to the bar. We’re all a few glasses of €2 wine deep and naturally the conversation turns into drinking games like never have I ever and three truths and a lie. What is it about drinking with near total strangers that makes you spill your darkest secrets? Some of these people I’ll likely only ever see again through instagram posts know things about me that my closets friends might not.
It’s late when I hit the hay, but I’m still ready for 7:30am, excited as anything. Even the breakfast is enough to get me out of bed – although it’s just simply bread, there’s something extra delicious about French baguettes that can’t be matched.
Another day spent wandering the streets is not one wasted. This time I head up to Montmartre, and I find everything I ever wanted Paris to be. Bakeries and blue slate roofs, boutique shops and painter’s houses. It’s easy to see how the impressionists came here, walking around here with the sun bleaching the pavements is like living in an impressionist painting.
Although I’m now fond with nearly every district of Paris, no matter how brief my visit, Montmartre was by far my favourite. Just at the other end of a metro line you’re transported out of the city and into a tiny French village – it’s quiet, beautiful, and full of good food.
I took myself on a sunset river cruise along the Seine, which was without a doubt the most romantic thing I’ve ever done. Although the boat was busy, there’s something just so indescribable about watching the entire city start glowing. Watching all of the people drinking with their friends along the banks, you feel like you’re in a movie. And the end is the most exciting part… the Eiffel tower lights up just as you pull into the dock underneath it.
I can’t understand anyone who says Paris is overrated, but I can understand those who call it the city of love. I think I fell in love with every street lamp in Montmartre, every time the sunset dyed the sky pink, every warm summer evening, and every glass of wine.