— words by Keith Austin

Paris is one of the great cities of the world, arguably the greatest – a bustling 21st century capital city of 10 million people that’s managed the not-inconsiderable trick of remaining relevant, modern and beautifully, wonderfully old-fashioned.

Just the name evokes images of grand streets and cosy cafes, of higgledy-piggledy, cobblestoned lanes filled with the warm aroma of baking bread, toasted croissants and coffee, of the Seine and the Louvre, of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

Its loveliness is partly in the very bones of the place – the beautiful boulevards, the well-planned parks, the romantic architecture of its historic buildings – but also in the people and their unquenchable joie-de-vivre.

It is a city of haute couture and haute cuisine, of high art and street artists, of ironically offhand but ultimately friendly bistro garcons, of the madame in the boulangerie with her cheery cry of “Bonjour!”, of the passionate bouquinistes, the booksellers who ply their trade from traditional stalls along the banks of the Seine.

It’s not a question of why you should visit (or revisit) Paris, but why would you not? Don’t fight it; c’est la vie.