Wow, it’s been a long time since I last posted on here but it’s been a truly busy year. The highlight of which was the news that I will be spending a year abroad in Paris, a city that I have dreamed of living in for a long time now. After the kerfuffle of setting up accommodation etc (I won’t bore you with all of it), I spent a chunk of my summer in the French capital, hoping to become a Parisian in no time at all. An unrealistic target, yes, but whoever said you can’t think big?
I started to move over in early August, a period of congé estival when Parisians set off on their holidays and restaurants take a much deserved break. Bad timing you might say but Paris in August is surprisingly fitting for a bit of exploring. Largely empty, life on the metro and in tourist hot spots becomes a walk in the park. And of course, with temperatures rising to 30 degrees, the jaw-droppingly beautiful jardins are a perfect backdrop for a spot of sunbathing and picnic-ing.
I’m usually one for planning my city-trips, itinerary and all (yes I’m the overly organised one). But this trip was a refreshing break from schedules and reservations. As many of the places I wanted to visit didn’t say online whether they were open in August or not, I decided on a new approach. Each day, I headed to a new area and spent my time wandering around the arrondissements, coming across hidden gems that are well worth visiting.
One of those sunny mornings, I set off for the Marais (I’m positive I share love for this place with many others). Craving a sun kissed and fairly quiet spot, I stumbled upon the jardin à l’heure d’été, a pop-up venue organised by the Institut Suédois (Swedish Institute). At the risk of sounding cliché, this jardin was an oasis in the heart of the 3ème arrondissement. The square had an international book stall on one side of the beautifully kept lawn, where you could borrow a novel during your séjour, and al-fresco dining tables on the other, perfect for those wanting to stay shaded from the sun while enjoying a takeaway from the jardin’s very own Café Hej.
As a sun baby, I lounged in one of the many hammocks in the centre of the square but only once I had grabbed one of their popular swedish salmon and cream cheese bagels. The bagel wasn’t the usual new york ones that I’m partial to back home but a sesame topped brioche-style version which was a nice surprise (and perfect for a sweet tooth!)
Unfortunately I missed the Swedish Institute’s events, such as open-air cinema screenings, but I’m hoping they will be back next summer to put on an equally great pop up. There will be more to come from my travels in Paris this year so stay tuned!