I have a confession to make: I’ve always been obsessed with Paris.
Like many Australians my dream destination was the French capital. My obsession with Paris has been with me for as long as I can remember. My mum grew up speaking French in her home, so in turn I grew up with the musical sounds of my mum’s voice speaking French with her parents and siblings, and she always had Paris Match delivered. I remember flicking through the pages of the magazine, and I felt as though I was holding a little bit of Paris in my hands.
I wanted to live in Paris. I wanted to stand under the Eiffel Tower, then climb it and gaze down on the city. I wanted to buy a baguette every morning, stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and drink coffee in a café in Montmartre.
When I finally reached the city that was the focus of my obsession, albeit for just a holiday, it felt like a dream. With a permanent smile on my face from the moment I looked up to the Eiffel Tower, I felt that my dream city lived to my every expectation. I loved saying "Bonjour" every morning. I adored walking into the luxurious boutiques and I took in as many exhibitions as possible.
When I visited the Louvre Museum for the first time, I arrived there first thing in the morning and didn’t leave until it closed, I remember I couldn’t get enough, although my throbbing feet made me vow that I would not do that again, especially in heels!
And like so many travelers, after a memorable time in Paris I went back home.
It wasn't for long. I quickly decided that I needed to be back in the City of Light, for at least a year. I wanted to be able to take in everything that I couldn’t fit in on my holiday and to really live the Parisian life.
Eleven years later I am still here, still taking in the city’s beauty and its never-ending gifts of new things to discover and exceptional monuments to rediscover.
While I may not stroll along the “Champs” every day, I still marvel at the Eiffel Tower every time I glimpse it glittering in the sky and the thing I love the most is when I show off Paris to my friends and family when they come to visit.
I love climbing the endless steps with them to the Sacré Coeur and walking around Le Marais on a Sunday. I love seeing their eyes light up when they take their first sip of Angelina’s famous hot chocolate or take their first bite of a crêpe. For me the best part of playing hostess to visitors is that I get to play tourist with them and discover Paris all over again and share those special moments with them.
Although I have visited many cities around the world, and I have loved them all, Paris has and always will be the City of Light and it is the city that will always shine for me.
Sandra Iskander serves as Paris editor for Where.