What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris

The good, the beautiful and the downright freezing.

Photos copyright Don Ta

Like any sane person, I always wanted to find myself in Paris one day. I didn't know when it would happen but I had high hopes that if I got there it would be as magical as every movie, song and photo made it appear.

Well, first thing this year, I found myself in some sort of alternate dream reality where I had the chance to go to Paris for work. I know, right?? I still can't believe it myself. And it was a dream, indeed. From starting each day with a decadent breakfast accessorized by darling jars of jam to catching glimpses of the Eiffel Tower from every scenic city view, it was hard not to fall in love with the city of lights.

With every dream vacay come to life, of course, there are a few reality checks. So after a whirlwind of a week, here's what I loved and learned, what I'll miss and won't miss—and why I'm dying to return (in sunnier circumstances).

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris

I'll Miss: The Culture

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

There's simply so much to do and see. Whether you're a tourist or a local, the options appear endless. There are restaurants and cafes up every charming alley, world renown museums, new art exhibits, fashion weeks and, of course, shopping.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Cold

As a California native I'm incredibly spoiled when it comes to the weather. So the 20 degree lows were insufferable, particularly when you're out and about all day. The metro was a lifesaver, as were the well heated and incredibly cozy cafes (Angelina's hot chocolate was my liquid strength). The perk of the off-season, though, was the lack of crowds. We didn't wait in line for a single thing, could casually saunter through museums and never needed a reservations at a restaurant. 

I'll Miss: The Magic

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

See the Eiffel Tower peeking through those branches? Le sigh. It seems it would be a struggle to come up with an unromantic date idea while living in Paris. Even jogging is enchanting when it's done along the river or around the gardens of Versailles.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Smoking

Again, spoiled Californian here—with hair that absorbs every smell it encounters. Avoiding cigarettes in Paris is impossible. I imagine I'd get over it if I were to make Europe my permanent residence, but coming home smelling like a campfire every night def takes some getting used to.

I'll Miss: Lingering

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

I loved how long Parisians lounged at cafes and restaurants with no pressure to leave. This is where I found the relaxed pace that differed drastically from America. No side-eyes for just ordering a drink and taking up occupancy next to a window for people watching.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Tiny Coffees and Teas

When at home, I love to sit with a BIG mug of hot tea. Also, for better or probably worse, American coffee shops have me conditioned to expect large sizing for every warm beverage. So, needless to say, the small cups at the same price were always a surprise.

I'll Miss: The Amazing Public Transportation

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

The metro was easy to navigate and I never waited longer than 4 minutes for a train. Not to mention so many things were in walking distance—something I would have taken more advantage of in warmer weather. Or, perhaps, if I was dressed for a blizzard.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Language Barrier

Entirely my own fault, I felt foolish for not investing more time pre-trip to learning at least the basics. I was incredibly impressed (and lucky!) most everyone we met spoke English. Still, next time I'd like to be more prepared.

I'll Miss: Hearing French

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

It's a beautiful sound! And there's officially nothing cuter than a child speaking French. My fiancé and I may just have to return to raise our children.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Crazy Driving

Every cab ride feels like a brush with death. Then again, LA and NYC are no different in that department.

I'll Miss: The Food

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

Creamy cheeses, rich chocolates, endless pastries and wine... It's every foodie's dream city.

But I Won't Really Miss: Overindulging

Okay, maybe I will miss this. But, of course, as an American in Paris I ate way too much of all of the above.

Au revoir, willpower!

I'll Miss: The Farmer's Markets

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

Our local farmer's markets just don't compare to the oysters, crepes, fruits and textiles found on the streets of Paris. I picked up a handful of beautiful scarves and even a beret at the bustling Bastille Market.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Fear of Pickpockets

Fortunately, we didn't fall prey to any on this trip, but the paranoia was constant. Especially on the metro and in super touristy spots like the Sacre Coeur.

I'll Miss: The One-of-a-Kind Boutiques

What I'll Really Miss (and Won't Miss) About Paris
Photo by Don Ta

No big malls and much fewer retail chains here, making every shop and every turn a unique one.

But I Won't Really Miss: The Prices

Let's face it, it's not a cheap city to reside in! You'd have to pay a pretty penny to live that fairytale life in Paris. But I hope from reading this list, it's easy to see why it would be worth it.

Editor, graphic designer and illustrator.
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