When I was twenty, I packed my oversized rucksack and went to Europe for six months. It was uncharacteristically spontaneous, but a wonderful experience. Up until this point, the furthest I had gone was Scarborough. Arriving in Paris, I was understandably nervous. Actually, I was more like terrified.
My first morning in Paris, I remember standing in the middle of Montmarte, wondering what the hell I was doing. I have zero sense of direction and trying to figure out the Metro proved near impossible. I was afraid I would return home not having even been able to find the Eiffel Tower. On top of this, my French was basic at best. I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I did manage to find the Eiffel Tower, though, along with The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and my personal favourite the Arc de Triomphe. That night as I sat on the steps of the Sacre Coueur, drinking cheap red wine straight from the bottle, looking down over the city, I felt like I could conquer everything.
I spent two more days sampling the delights of Paris, and have returned three times. There is so much to see and do and the whole place has a distinct feel – and smell – about it. I’d love to return again, now that I’m older. I’m not sure whether my feelings would be the same if Paris hadn’t been the first place I visited, but I do find Paris magical.