I have a well-documented love affair with Paris. It is a city that long ago captured my heart and imagination, and there isn’t anywhere else in the world that fills me with the kind of inexplicable joy I feel as I walk down Paris’ frequently crotte-covered cobblestoned streets.
That was until I made my most recent visit to London. I have visited London more than half a dozen times, and each time, the city has meant something different to me. On my first visit, I was a college senior who inexplicably chose a cold city for my final spring break. Subsequent trips saw me alternately as a lovestruck would-be graduate student, a confused young professional, an actual graduate student, and now as a not-so-young, nor as confused professional. And my view of the city changed and shifted each time I viewed it through a different lens.
London never struck me with its beauty and charm the way Paris did. London requires you
to earn your charmingly English experiences. It’s not as obviously beautiful as Paris, and Londoners aren’t particularly friendly. Every corner in Paris reveals a scene that could’ve been plucked from Amelie, but London is not this way–I have never had a moment where I felt like I was living in a Richard Curtis film (and maybe that’s a good thing). But the biggest difference between my respect for London and affection for Paris? I can never quite see myself living in Paris–my American sensibilities are still too strong for me to live in a city where striking is an art form–I could absolutely see myself living in London. It could be because I have friends in London, or that the language is my native tongue. It could be that the quiet, somewhat taciturn people jive a little bit more with my own introverted nature. All I know is that London finally grabbed my heart this time ’round. And here are my five favorite things from my most recent trip.