My list of greatest hits in Paris is probably a little different than most. In nine days in central Paris, I did not set foot in Le Louvre or go to the top of Le Tour Eiffel.
I did eat about 47 macaroons, pounded miles and miles of cobblestone pavement in my Adidas, and paid close attention to the details. I guess rather than staring at Monet or Cezanne, I peeked into courtyards and took a few extra seconds to take in the wonder.
The beauty of Paris is truly in the not so obvious. It's in the speckles of green in a green tea macaroon. Or in a Parisian woman's bun, perfectly messy (always bobby-pinned). It's in the way they plate carrots (always buy vegetables with dirt, our Parisian friend tells us).
It's in the discreetness of children's balloons sitting alone on a winding street.
It's the flower shops in Le Marais pouring over with abundant green.
It's the slow pour of a thick hot chocolate and the little spoon to stir. It's the old wooden boxes that hold the tiny bobbins at Clignancourt.
And the cat that wanders by leading me to a hidden jazz bar in between two stalls selling leather hides.
The beauty of Paris is in its doors. And the pale gray windows of Isle Saint Louie.
The beauty of Paris is nothing for words, it's an ache in my heart, a sense of familiarity in what should be a totally unknown planet.