I certainly got off easy. I missed an assignment while I was away, and my instructor was so keen to hear about Paris that she simply assigned me to write about my trip instead! Now that I can do... {This little blurb of mine is posted below}.

While I'm on the topic of Paris (and will be for the next little while...), I found this gorgeous photograph below by Leigh Viner and have since fallen in love with her work. Be sure to visit her Etsy shop to browse her fabulous art (I just ordered a print from her tonight that I'm sooo excited to receive)!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. -J

Paris, the capital of France and home to the finer things in life. With its rich cuisine, designer clothing and brilliant architecture, a trip to Paris is just lovely.

Settled into all 300 square feet of the studio apartment, our two-week resting place had every element of European city life. The large wooden doors on the city street opened to reveal a small courtyard; lively and unmanicured. An old spiral staircase, weathered from 200 years of Parisian living, led up to the red front door where the small, modest interior revealed beautifully worn herringbone floors (could’ve done without the splinter) and large windows. But as any European will attest to, the two burners and bar fridge were a quick reminder of where I was staying. There were no oversized appliances to be found in this apartment. We were about to embrace the European tradition of frequent supermarket visits, stair climbing and compact spaces.

Born and raised in an Ontario suburb, the history and culture of France was a foreign fantasy to me up until two years ago. Post-university, a friend and I wandered the cities of Italy and France, admiring their rich histories, sophisticated fashion and love of life. It appeared to me then that the French had a passion for living beautifully and in the moment. As a young woman, I was seduced by this culture that surrendered to colourful macaroons and valued its history. Upon returning home, France was the place I longed to revisit.

How quickly two years passed, and now I was standing in front of the Louvre as a soon-to-be interior decorator, feeling an even greater appreciation for the artistic vision of those from centuries before. The detail, the symmetry and the graceful aura that this former residence emitted was inspiring. On one particular warm fall day, the Jardin de Tuileries was filled with joggers, lovers and tourists. Children played with colourful sailboats in a fountain, and a woman strolled past with three baguettes in her bag, soon finding a seat to enjoy one in the afternoon sun. Truthfully, it all felt a little surreal at first, but the romantic norms of Paris are traditions that make it such an unforgettable place.

Strolling through the streets of Paris was both relaxing and exhilarating. At every turn, we discovered a piece of historic architecture, be it an ornate cathedral or former residence. Shop windows displayed classic, neutral clothing and sweet patisseries had pastries too delectable to eat. The bridges flanking the Seine were masterpieces in their own right, and the pleasant winds of fall made me wonder how "springtime in Paris" could be any more perfect.

Travel, wherever it may be, is undoubtedly good for the soul. It opens us up to new experiences, cultures, languages, foods and in this case, appliances. It encourages us to get more out of life and often times makes us appreciate bits of home.

My stay in Paris quickly came to an end, but I can’t think of a finer place for an almost-decorator to vacation with her lifelong best friend. Fortunately, this voyage has been heavily documented on film, and my corny Eiffel Tower key chains, sweet perfume and European interior design magazines will surely keep Paris alive for me at home. I went for an inspiring experience, to enjoy great food and grand architecture, and returned with a renewed energy for design, food and fashion. And that's exactly what Paris does to you. It takes whatever you love in your life, and makes you feel a little more passionate about it.

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