Merci, Paris

I just love Paris. So much so that right now, riding the train back to London and staring out at the beautifully lush French countryside racing by, I'm already looking forward to the next time I can visit.

I have been to Paris more times than I can count. Family trips, business trips, and semesters studying in France in both undergrad and grad school have made it almost a mundane destination for me.

This time was a quick 48-hour trip, and unfortunately, I got out of my meetings today several hours later than I'd planned. I'd hoped to have some time to stop by a few of my favorite places in the city: to climb up the steep Montmartre hill to admire a view of the city, or wander through the Luxembourg gardens, or perhaps even stroll by the Eiffel Tower (cliché though that may be, there's a reason why people love it.)

Sadly, there wasn't time for any of that. I had a train to catch, so off I headed to collect my suitcase at my hotel, and then to make my way to Gare du Nord for departure.

But hey, it's still Paris. Which means that even if all you do with your few precious moments of free time is walk down the street, it's still Paris. And that means beautiful architecture and lively bike lanes and people sipping apéritifs on café terraces attended to by waiters in starched white shirts and black vests. And today in particular, it meant brilliant sunshine and warmth and smiles. Smiles from me, and smiles back from those people that I was smiling at because who says the French can't be friendly too on days like today?

So yeah, I'm a fan of Paris. And I do feel super lucky and grateful to have come over this week, short though it was. I think sometimes the downside of travel being so accessible these days is that it's stopped being as much of a 'big deal.' "I was in Paris this week," we'll say, shrugging, like it ain't no thang and everyone's doing it all the time.

But who's to say we can't be grateful for the mundane? Who's to say the mundane can't still be special? Does that really need to even be a contradiction?

Not when it's Paris.