There's always that one city, that one country you love & would be your "escape" plan whenever life gets tough. I never thought I'd be back in France this soon. After I came back from Italy in July, I started a new job. Only 4 months to it & I knew it was something I didn't want to pursue. It was a hard decision to quit knowing the market is bad, but I did it anyway. Fast forward, I knew I had to get out of town to breathe and think; and to be honest my long-distance relationship at that point was a blur as well. So I checked the price to Paris & surprisingly it was very cheap. I knew that was my cue to book it despite everyone telling me how I should just look for another job instead. I ended up booking a SGD$650 with Saudia to Paris return ticket. Super good deal!
Looking back, I didn't regret going back to France. Rouen and Paris was so beautiful during Autumn. This trip has made me realising something - A "wrong-turn" lead me to a field of golden fallen leaves, Misty Sunrise, Sparkling Christmas Markets and suddenly I'm second guessing every "wrong-turn" in my life. Every "wrong-turn" had led me to where I am currently & I'm happy as hell, not jaded, so were they really wrong turns? If I never made that "mistake" of trying to be a professional recruiter, I wouldn't have known it was something I didn't want to pursue, I wouldn't have taken a pause & book a trip to France & experience all this moments in life that I'll never forget. "We give everything, everything just to feel alive."
The other thing I've learnt after this France escapade is that we shouldn't be impatient, sure some of your close friends are getting married, some have reached their desired profession but you feel like you are not moving, just tangled up. Don't get frustrated, don't start yanking on things or meddle with nature before its ready to come. You'll just have to be patient and trust in the timing of your life.
Matt fetched me from Paris airport and we drove about an hour and the half to the city of Rouen. Rouen is the capital of Normandy and its a city near the river. Located in a rather hilly environment, one must be ready to climb uphill at all times. When we first met each other, it felt pretty weird. We had our first real fight and this trip was so impromptu , we didn't even talk that much.
Anyway,I would recommend a 2 day visit here. As Matt is studying here, 2 weeks was a little too much to stay in Rouen, so I went back to Paris for a few nights and we did a road trip to Mont Saint Michel.
What I did in Rouen
|It was November, the month of crimson fallen leaves , when the light is sweet & heavy|
|Subtle christmas decoration slowly covered the whole town|
|I guess the old architecture is what makes Rouen so delightful|
CAFE HOPPING of Hot Coffee , Books & Thoughts : They have amazing cafes & bars that serve relatively cheap hot beverages to combat the chilly misty autumn. I was usually alone out exploring the town as Matt was in school. Most of the time, I find myself in another cosy cafe with a hot coffee just lost in thoughts. There's something about watching the leaves falling ...
Walk around the Rue Du Gros-Harloge: This road consist mainly of historical areas including the golden clock. Alongside with hidden bars and fleur shops, its a nice stroll. You will sense how old this whole city is.
Indulge in the French Cuisine: One of the reason why I love France so much is because of their food! They take pride in presentation and quality no matter how "cheap" your dining experience is. The various quality and type of cheese, the fresh meat, the wines and oh, the desserts - that one is divine! I swear I ALWAYS gained at least 3 kg after leaving France!
Free Museum: A trip to the Museum is the great idea especially when its a rainy weather and you cant explore the town while its wet and freezing! Free and surprisingly huge, this museum in Rouen is actually impressive
|Marche de noel de Rouen|
The Beautiful Christmas Market in Rouen: Since it was my first time actually in a Christmas Market, It was all so unreal to me. Everything looks magical and It was a pleasant experience soaking up the festive mood. When France welcomes the festive season, it is definitely the merriest!
Although the Christmas Market in Rouen is not as big as Paris, it definitely feels more authentic. They were selling traditional chocolate marshmallows, rolls of ham, mulled wine, crispy churros. I enjoyed every time I went there and thats like every night!
|Look how beautiful this is!|
|Mulled wine perfect for the weather. I thought it tasted very sweet but comforting.|
One of our favourite things to do is to go on a Roadtrip. Since we both enjoy travelling so much, exploring new cities is a perfect date for us. Singing in the car, talking about anything as we passed by odd towns, watching him drive, watching the trees. We have only been together for 1 year but we have been to more than 8 cities including 4 road trips! He is an amazing travel partner
We drove about 2 hours to Mont Saint Michel from Rouen passing by beautiful town and stopped by Le Vilage Cancalais to have some fresh oysters. Cancale is known for their fresh oysters and eating it by the beach.
Christmas Magical Market in Paris
Saving the best for the last is the Christmas Market in Paris. Wow, I never thought I would have experience its magic this soon. We decided to spend a day exploring the christmas market by Champ Elysee which is absolutely filled with joyful spirit!
About 45 minutes train ride from Rouen back to Paris. I went over twice for this trip because Paris is my most favourite city in the world & because Rouen is pretty boring after a week.
|Do things you love, visit the city you love, do whatever it takes to smile and be happy inside out|
I think I visited the Eiffel Tower more than 6 times in just 2 years & I don't think i'll ever get bored of it. It has capture my soul and may I always be in love.
|but I never thought that I will be visiting Paris with someone I love. The first time I visited paris in May 2015, I wish that I would someday visit this place with someone I truly love & I never thought it would be this soon.|
So after the eiffel tower & lunch; we made our way to Champ Elysee where the Christmas Market was. With all the hyped about it , I was overexcited! It is definitely huge and filled with people, food, entertainment. I just love it!
The Christmas Market in Paris is just so huge its pretty impossible to visit it in a few hours. But I note a rather repetitive stores and I think my favourite section is the food market!
After that, we made our way to ice skating.
We fell in love, despite our differences in race/ culture and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that's why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I'll never forget a single moment of it. Paris being my favourite city and to ice-skate here, a sport I enjoy doing- its just too fond.
By the time I published this post to my blog, Matt & I are history. We are nothing but beautiful memories, a phase in life. It is what it is but I will ALWAYS remember this Paris. To all that come to this happy place, welcome. Know that it holds such magical memories for many.
I guess its one of the reason why I love Paris so much, despite its superficial front painted by others.. its a place where you feel both the distance of precious memory and blurred present. We are not together anymore due to a simple but strong fact - life. Life happened. You know like when the both of you come to the end of a road and there are two ways. I don't know if we will ever meet again but in spite of our tragic ending, I still do feel lucky and blessed to have met someone I can actually love so deeply. I never felt a love so pure, never felt so connected. But everything belongs to GOD, and I know that Matt may not be mine to keep forever. Thank you Mathias for loving and saving me.. for allowing me to receive such otherworldly moments.
I will always remember this trip for its the last time we ever get to hold each other.