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My Beautiful Paris

Norma Thiessen 03/08/2012

My first trip to Paris was during my mid-twenties. I was going through a difficult break-up and desperately needed an escape. Exhausted and finished with being tied down, I picked up the phone and called a girlfriend living in Germany. Ten minutes in, my very first European vacation was booked.

The agenda was a busy one. Nevertheless, after everything I had heard about Paris, a 24-hour stopover was a must!

I will never forget the feeling of arriving in Paris that first time: the butterflies, the overwhelming sense of freedom I felt getting off that train—it’s still with me today.

As I exited Gare du Nord the sensation of Paris hit me. It hit me hard. My eyes welled up and I just stood there, frozen. I took a deep breath and thought: “So, this is Paris.” Within a short while the love affair began.

Twenty-four hours later it was difficult to tear myself away. I left vowing to return, and very soon.

Norma Thiessen 03/08/2012

And return I did: over the years I have returned many times. I officially lost count after 20. I have had the fortune to experience Paris with many special people: my husband, mother, sister, niece and oodles of my closest friends. What a fantastic time we’ve had!

I started to wonder how I could keep the experience of Paris alive while not being there. So, one day I began to write. Several weeks later, there it was: the beginning of www.mybeautifulparis.com.

Creating a website on Paris is hardly an innovation. There are many. Plus there are many Paris devotees out there, each with their particular and personal love affairs with the City of Light.

It felt very liberating to let my love affair come out through my fingertips. They flew over the keyboard. I wanted to give people information so they could make their Paris trips as memorable as they have been for me so many times.

Through this I have learned that a real passion is writing about the hotel experience. Hotel accommodation is such a significant part of a trip. However, saying this, perhaps standards evolve as you age since I can’t remember spending more than a few hours in my hotel room on my first several trips to Paris. Nonetheless, for me it is now a major part of the perfect holiday. So I focus on the hotel.

Museums are another passion. They are incredible, beyond so. Although it is the mansion-turned-museum that I enjoy the most. Seeing how the residents once lived gives me the surreal feeling of being amongst them. It’s the closest thing to jumping in a time machine.

Norma Thiessen 03/08/2012

Paris is a walking city, so I put on comfortable shoes and walk! I usually give myself at least one day to do nothing but wander from sunrise to sunset. It is invigorating to experience Paris on your own.

Then there’s the cuisine: the mouth-watering food!  Their beef is so tender, covered in that heavenly sauce.  And for breakfast the ever so flaky croissant.  For dessert I’m going with the obvious—the macaron!

The macaron is what inspired the colours on my website. These delightful little pieces of chewy meringue filled with mouth-watering cream are available in just about every pâtisserie in Paris. My favorites are at Ladurée.

My next trip to Paris will be in May. It will consist of nights at the one and only Hôtel Plaza Athénée and L’Hotel, once home to the legendary Oscar Wilde. I will also finally learn to bake a macaron! Stay tuned…



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