I love Paris with such a passion, it hurts. Last year I lived there for four months but still, I can never get enough. When I'm not in Paris I ache for the city as if for a lost love.
If I could return once more, I'd jump feet first into all the wonderful places I still want to discover. And, I would also make a personal pilgrimage to my favorite places from chic to charming all that hooked my heart.
First I would re visit my favorite arrondissement, the Marais. Here the streets follow their ancient circuitous routes and hold a rich collection of museums, galleries, boutiques, bars, cafes and fountains so that the illogical confusion of the streets makes it illogically joyful to get lost. The Marais is the 16th century heart of Paris with its elegant hotels particuliers (mansions) paving stone sidewalks and at its center the rosy brick symmetry of that most elegant square, the Place des Vosges. Despite its noble history, the Marais is edgy, hip and diverse. It is traditional and trendy, gay and straight, old and new. The quarter houses buildings that have borne witness to some of the most important events in French history yet walk along the rue des Rosiers and you will find not only the ateliers of hot new Japanese designers, you will find a Jewish quarter with Hebrew school, synagogue, kosher butchers and bakeries. One winter evening I was on the rue des Rosiers in a gentle swirl of snowflakes and had the curious feeling I was inside a pretty snow globe, not of Paris, but of Jerusalem.
The Marais holds today the highest concentration of artisans in Europe and so it's here where I meet truly creative people. So I would return to Claire Orengo on Place de Thorigny who not only sells elegant velvet and silk fabric but makes all lampshades, diaries, tassels and lingerie bags with it. Claire who'll make whatever you like even wraps boxes of fireplace matches in thick plum and black velvet. On rue Ferdinand Duval I would seek out gentle...