Rue de Charonne
Seven years ago today, I woke up in Paris for the first time. It was our honeymoon, we were staying in a b-u-d-g-e-t hotel, and I was suffering from an embarrassing case of perma-smile. Our crappy little hotel was located on Rue de Charonne, and last week, I went back for the first time. I snapped a few photos of our favorite cafe, the facade of the hotel (ha! nothing much to look at), the metro stop, and the fruit stand from which we bought oranges everyday. No idea why we bought oranges everyday, but we did. The thing that struck me the most as I stood and looked around was how funny it was that *this* was the epicenter of our honeymoon. This unspectacular little street was the place I spent my first week as a wife. No umbrella drinks, no lavish dinners, no fancy dresses, no honeymoon suite. I'll admit that for a minute or two I was a bit bummed that we had been so frugal (not that we had much choice back then). I mean, where are the fancy photos to show the grandkids? But then I realized that it was the beginning of my love affair with Paris as a real city, not a glamourous, idealized destination. I often receive emails from readers asking about hot spots, the nicest restaurants or the best place to shop. I always struggle with answers to these questions, because I truly don't know. I'm okay with just wandering around. I eat street food and fresh fruit from the markets. Mediocre coffee in a random cafe doesn't piss me off. I take photos of garbage cans, people! I'll never be able to convey what it is that draws me to this city, but it has more to do with the five senses than it does with Le Jules Verne or the Champs-Elysées.