Travelers Share Their Memories and Love for Paris

Every traveler has a story to share about Paris. It’s a city that evokes wonder, love, excitement, and beauty. There have been thousands of books written to tell us how to be more French. How to eat, how to dress, how to fall in love. I even have one on how to tie a scarf like a French lady. In the days following this week’s horrific attacks on the city, we want to talk about Paris. We want to share our stories. We want to remember. We want to give a voice to the city that we love. We’ve asked our own editors, writers, readers, and Explorers to share their memories and photographs of this amazing city.


The Eiffel Tower from the top of Sacré-Coeur. (Photo: Nick Aster)

“I never had the Paris bug. I wasn’t one of those starry-eyed college girls who dreamed of running away to live in the City of Light. But I fell hard for the city when my now-husband whisked me there for a week just two months after we met. We made no grand plans, choosing instead to meander in and out of small cafes, drinking wine, eating cheese, and chatting up the locals. We rode bikes and stopped in small grocery stores to buy the fixings for a picnic below the Eiffel Tower. We hotel hopped, but everywhere we stayed we seemed to have a view of that tower. I fell in love with Paris and in Paris. It was there that we decided to get married, and in a small boutique in the Marais we looked at engagement rings. It’s a city made for falling in love.” —Jo Piazza, managing editor, Yahoo Travel


Riding bikes outside of the Louvre. (Photo: Nick Aster)

“I’ve been to Paris dozens of times and it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. The architecture, food, people, museums, and parks make this a magical place day and night. I took the photo below last August while walking through Tuileries Gardens, and it depicts the sadness I felt when I heard the horrific news.” — Johnny Jet


Photo: Johnny Jet

“Paris has survived the occupation of the Nazis, the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian war, the reign of terror during the French Revolution, and the Paris Commune.
Despite how terrible this was, Paris has suffered far worse, and will survive.” —Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere


Photo: Gary Arndt

“The first time I visited Paris, I was 15 years old, and the city captured my heart in a way that no other place has since. Even then, I was captivated by the magic, the light, and the love. My #PrayerForParis is that in these dark days, she shines brighter than ever before. Je t’aime, Paris.” — Natalie DiScala, Oh! Travelissima


Photo: Natalie DiScala

“I first visited Paris as a study-abroad student and remember being immediately charmed by the city’s beauty and elegance. As my summer in Paris went on, that initial love only intensified. This city has been through its share of hard times and yet always emerges just as beautiful and elegant as before. I have no doubt Paris will shine again. Sending best wishes to this magical place and prayers for a more peaceful world.” — Tausha Cowan, the Globe Getter


Photo: Tausha Cowan

“I’ve been to Paris countless times, and each visit is special and the city itself is timeless. As Hemingway said, Paris is ‘a moveable feast.’” — Lee Abbamonte


Photo: Lee Abbamonte

“For me, Paris is about children. I first traveled there as a 7-year-old. I remember taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and gazing down the Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe. I discovered pain au chocolat and Orangina. And now that I’m a father, I take my kids there at least every other summer, always aiming to discover new things and create new memories. We take cooking classes. We spend hours in the Jardin du Luxembourg — especially sailing the toy boats and playing at the playground. We go out every morning for fresh bread from the boulangeries. We have picnic dinners at the Champ de Mars while the kids run in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. And we walk … a lot. Paris is best discovered by going on foot from arrondissement to arrondissement, and not by taking the Metro from iconic site to iconic site. This won’t stop us from going back. It’s an amazing city and an amazing world, and it’s meant to be explored.” — Eric Stoen, Travel Babbo

“Paris was the first foreign city I ever visited alone. I chose Paris because it seemed like the coolest city in the world. The food, architecture, and women all seemed vibrantly exotic, and as a dorky 22-year-old whose idea of high art was Tupac and Biggie, I wanted to soak myself in that culture. I hoped it would rub off on me. Like so many young people, I was naively romantic about Paris. One of the first things I did after checking into my hostel in the French Quarter was make a reservation at a fancy restaurant on the Champs-Élysées. For two people. My goal during my week in Paris was to meet a girl who’d accompany me there on my last night, even though I had little knowledge of French and even less game.

I’d heard that people in Paris could be rude to Americans, and I braced myself for that. But not once was I treated with smugness or contempt — not by the smiling waitress I tried to converse with by repeatedly looking at my French phrase book, not by the strangers I asked for directions, not even by the employee at Versailles when the American girl I’d met at my hostel approached him for help and screamed, “YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?” (Needless to say I wouldn’t take her to dinner after that.)

My favorite part about Paris was getting lost there — and I got lost there a lot. I wandered alone down quiet, winding, narrow streets at night through various arrondissements, knowing all I had to do was find a Metro station and I’d find my way again. I never felt any danger in that dark silence. I couldn’t even imagine danger. I never did find a date for my dinner, but I went anyway. I sat alone in the basement dining room, the air filled with other groups’ cigarette smoke and boisterous conversation. The prix-fixe meal I ordered was delicious but, as Paris service is known to be, very leisurely — it was taking close to an hour between courses. That meant a lot of solo sitting.

But my waitress, the kind of understated cute blonde I’d wished to meet here, recognized this and took some pity on me. She smiled and presented me with a free glass of Champagne, and in that moment it was everything I could want. I never found romance in Paris — not on that trip or when I returned three years later — but I did find humanity there. We all know how beautiful and artsy Paris is, but more than anything it’s that humanity I want to stay intact through the pain France is feeling right now. So that it can continue to console dumb young romantics and travelers like me.” —Greg Keraghosian, editor, Yahoo Travel

The Jardins des Tuileries. (Photo: Carolyn Ernst)

My heart lies in Paris…. I lived there in my early teens with my family, and it has been in my veins ever since. I’ve strolled its streets with friends, lovers, and on my own many times, and never have enough. Its obvious beauty is staggering, it’s more subtle charms mesmerizing. It’s a love affair that will never end, and like any great lover, Paris will always keep me coming back for more. Every encounter is not perfect, but I love the serendipity of the highs and lows — after all, it’s still Paris. I shot this photo while caught in an impending storm in the Jardins des Tuileries. It was a sublime moment. — Carolyn Ernst

The Eiffel Tower. (Photo: @dreamer0905/Twitter)

I was there 2 months ago for my birthday month for the first time and it was magical! —@dreamer0905/Twitter

A shot from Roland Garros. (Photo: @VeeeKaaay/Twitter)

Everything! Each time I’ve gone, I’ve caught matches at Roland Garros. I love it! —@VeeeKaaay/Twitter

A memory from the opening of EuroDisney. (Photo: Jon Hochstat/Twitter)

I lived in Paris suburbs all of ’92 as part of EuroDisney opening team. Always felt safe! Also on days off I used to climb to the top of Notre Dame and take in the amazing view of the city of Paris. — Jon Hochstat

For me, Paris is the city that brings out my instinctive, deep, and unshakeable love. It invigorates my senses and makes me fall in love again each time I am in her presence. We must remember that love will always endure hardships, but once the love light has been lit, it will last forever. — Cacinda Maloney, Points and Travel


J'adore Paris because the wonderful museum buildings are as exquisite as the art inside. I could spend hours wandering in and out of the great hall of the Musee D'Orsay or staring at the ceilings in the Louvre. Cathy Bennett Kopf, The Open Suitcase

I traveled to Paris on a summer backpacking trip to Europe when I was 20 years old. I vividly remember how amazed I was that it was 9:30 p.m. and the sun was just starting to dip below the horizon, as I had never experienced that before. There are very few moments from the past eight years of traveling that I remember as much as I do that one. Paris continued to captivate me with its beauty, especially at night; it rivals even New York City in how inspiring it is. It is a stark reality that along with all the magic in this world, there is so much evil that tries to overpower it. Yet through the bad, I’ve learned that our light can only be dimmed, and that we come together to shine through the darkest, toughest days. My prayer for Paris is one of strength, love and resilience. The city will undoubtedly persevere. — Alexandra E. Petri, The Write Way Around

For me, Paris is about food. I love how Parisians (most French, really) discuss over lunch what they will eat for dinner that night. Or, how they don’t mind waiting in long lines to buy pastries or chocolate from their favorite patisserie. Be it people watching at a sidewalk cafe, laughing with friends at a swanky nightclub or shopping at one of the heavenly-scented fromageries: Paris is nourishment to my foodie soul. The city will always, no matter what, be a place of comfort (be it food or otherwise) to me. — Lanee Lee, Voyage Vixens

My favorite day in Paris was getting up with the sun and exploring Sacre Coeur. I had the whole place to myself, no tourists — just a few locals putzing around. Looking out over Paris seemed so peaceful and quiet, which is how I will always remember it. —Sherry Ott, Ott’s World

I first visited Paris when I was eight years old, with my family and cousins. At the time, we were too young to have any preconceptions of “Par-eee”. Nonetheless, we were captivated by everything we saw — the sculptures in the Louvre, historic buildings, French pastries. I especially loved the Gothic catacombs. Even now, I still feel that same sense of wonder each time I return to this city. There’s nowhere else like it. La Carmina

My first solo travel experience was a five-month trip through Europe a couple years after college. Paris was not high on my list — I was more interested in getting out of the big cities. But Paris being Paris, I eventually wound up on a train that was stopping there, and at some station I can no longer remember, an elderly gentleman sat down in the seat next to me. We chatted in poor French for a minute before we realized we both spoke English, and we spent the next hour becoming old friends. He was an artist, with other artist friends in the City of Light who ended up taking me out to lunch and walking me through gardens and galleries. On my last day in Paris, I met Tinka (that was his nickname) at the Musée d’Orsay, where, over hot cocoa in the café, he told me that even though I didn’t know it yet, I had wings. Throughout those few days, I remember wondering at several points what this English grandfather’s intentions were and whether I should be more afraid, but I never was, and my cynicism never won out. It was one of the first unexpected and memorable friendships I made during what would be many travels, even though I never saw him again. I guess we could’ve met anywhere, but we didn’t. We met because of Paris. I have since lost the journal where I wrote down his real name and address, so I was never able to keep in touch. But I’ve never forgotten him or his view of Paris as a place where magical things happen and where everyone has wings. Billie Cohen, contributing editor Yahoo Travel

Related: Eiffel Tower Closed After Paris Attacks