From streetstyle stars to hordes of tourists with their parasols and bossy guides, everyone makes a stop at the Tuileries in Paris, just by the Louvre. This is one of the most quintessentially Parisian destinations, and it’s one of my favorite places to spend a summer evening.
When I lived abroad I was in a museum just about every other day. There is an endless supply of inspiration in these hallowed halls, but with it comes long lines of people, dusty explanations, and a bit of fatigue. Which is why I think I’ve started to enjoy time spent in gardens, parks, and in nature in general. Travel for me is about slowing down and seeing new things, unwinding a bit to just take it all in.
Last summer when I was in Paris on business, I was lucky enough to be staying just down the street from the Tuileries. On my first day in the City of Lights, I checked into the Hotel Mayfair — more on that here, if you’re interested — dropped my bags off in the room, and headed straight for the park.
I arrived in the middle of summer and the weather was phenomenal — sunny with a warm breeze carrying the smell of lavender that had been sunning itself all day. One of my favorite parts of Paris in the summer is the long, long days — twilight doesn’t arrive until midnight or so, which means that despite arriving in the late afternoon, I was still able to enjoy the full day. I wandered through the park a bit, found a chair, and then plopped myself down for a quick cat nap.
While I was sitting there I took off my headphones, closed my eyes, and just took in everything that was happening around me. People were coming and going, their footsteps crunching through the light gravel pathways. The sound was soft, earthy, a wonderful break from the usual city din. The sun was still high in the sky and I positioned myself so I could feel the warm rays on my face. There was a light breeze, not cool, but summery, and every time it would blow just right the smell of nearby fresh lavender would intoxicate. I heard people speaking in French, and I zoned in on the rythms of their syllables. I could hear the faint sound of sirens in the distance, the lecturing tone of a tour guide, and the sound of water in the fountains, tumbling over itself over and over.
In short, I let the experience completely take over me, and I let my senses soak it all in. When I’m feeling stressed out, all I have to do is close my eyes and bring up the memory, and I’m right back to that glorious summer day.
Pro tip: do be mindful of your belongings if you end up napping in the park — petty theft happens, and while thankfully not dangerous, it’s still a pretty big buzz kill. It happened to a friend who lives in Paris, so it can happen to anyone.