Now which girl hasn’t dreamt of a life in Paris?
The city of love and lights, chic fashion, trendy cafes and fine culture. There are so many appealing aspects to this wonderful French capital, which draws many ladies in and somehow manages to keep them there- at least for a period of time.
Polina Paraskevopoulou was born and raised in Greece, in the southern suburbs of Athens. She became a journalist- a profession she says that gives her a feeling she isn’t actually working. With hardly any sleep at night- as she writes better during the late hours- Polina is always on the lookout for the most interesting city corners or picturesque villages of this world, to capture and write about.
Dividing her time between Athens and Paris, the two city-stations of her life, Polina’s Parisian wanderings found their place to the eternity of cyberspace through ‘My Parisienne Walkways’, the first Greek blog about the hot spots and the lifestyle of Parisians. While her other travels and life obsessions found shelter at ‘La Vie En Blog’.
Today Polina shares with GCT a snippet of her life as a Greek girl in Paris, plus her fave spots around this pretty city.
By Polina Paraskevopoulou
Do you remember how you felt when a dream of yours came true? Mine was fulfilled approximately five years ago but I remember every second of that moment, every feeling I had, like it was just yesterday! The calendar index was in January 2011, when a Greek girl landed in the city of lights and two suitcases arrived with her full of clothes, but above all, full of dreams.
I had never visited Paris before, only mentally through the songs of Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel- through the daily routine of Amélie; through the inspirational dialogues of Céline and Jesse Before Sunset and the walks at Midnight in Paris.
My ‘vehicle’ was the Erasmus (EU student exchange) program during my postgraduate studies in Athens. This was meant to be my way in to this beautiful city for a short stay, however it became the beginning of my permanent residence in Paris.
When you leave your house, your home town, your country, your safety net for the first time, you have two emotions conflicting inside you- both equally strong. Fear of the unknown and simultaneously an enormous curiosity to discover it all. Curiosity- this motivating power to live differently, to learn everything about something you know nothing of.
The day I arrived in the French capital, the weather was bitter cold (difficult as a first acquaintance for a Greek) that continued for the rest of the month and the first two days after, until I arranged the basics at my new home. I hadn’t even had the chance to see the Eiffel Tower, neither the Notre Dame nor Montmartre. Parisian film frame stoically waited in my mind for that big moment when I would see them for the first time, but not as a tourist.
In the years that followed, I did see them many times and to this day I still remain speechless in front of the Tower, admiring it; while millions of flashing lights are blinking. And I still get carried away by the view of Paris on the steps of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.
As time went on, I felt more and more strongly, what I had felt from the first moment I stepped my foot in Paris. The feeling that in front of me there were limitless possibilities, countless experiences, wonderful different images and smells, new habits and a whole new life.
After five years, I can tell you for sure that with all the good and the bad I have experienced in Paris, this city has changed me forever! It’s my second home, the home I wisely chose for myself five years ago.
POLINA’S FAVE’S AROUND PARIS-
Try the minuscule Boot Café, built into an old cobbler’s shop in the northeast Marais.
Areas to shop:
Definitely the “Haut” Marais, the quartier of Etienne Marcel, rue Beaurepaire and rue de Marseille in the 10th arrondissement.
For a cocktail or wine:
My favourite speakeasy bars are Le Ballroom du Beef Club and Candelaria and the pop-art bar Andy Wahloo.
Head to The KONG! Without a doubt.
Can’t go by the romantique Chez Julien, L’aller Retour and Le Dôme du Marais.
Locals love the Promanade plantée, an elevated linear park built on top of obsolete railway infrastructure in the 12th arrondissement.
To people watch:
Head to Marais, Rue Montorgueil and les berges sur Seine, a pedestrianised stretch of the left bank between the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
The enormous parc des buttes Chaumonts with the bar Rosa Bonheur.