Have you ever had to get a glimpse of you living your best life in your favorite holiday destination? You are not literally there but you are there….you will soon understand where I am going with this!!
I had the best time of my life in Paris with my family, the Eiffel tower was the highlight of my holiday. We got to experience Paris the best way we knew how. The French restaurants, transport, beautiful historic buildings. What more could we ask for? Well, what we could ask for is the actual visit to Paris lol.
It has always been my dream to visit Paris, I would read books that would give a description of Paris and I would immediately imagine myself as one of the characters in that book or watch movies which are shot in Paris and get FOMO, the latest series that had me going through it all was Emily in Paris, I was watching while living vicariously through her.
A dream come true would be me visiting the all so famous Louvre Museum, I would like to believe that the pictures don’t do the place any justice, the architecture is world-class. I was watching Lupin the other day and while following the storyline, could not help but admire the beauty of the place.
My boyfriend and I are both Catholic, so when we went to “our Paris”, we had hoped to see the Notre Dame Cathedral but alas, they did not have it. We made a mental note that one day when we go to Paris, we would make sure that it’s one of the first places that we do visit. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face and gives me butterflies.
Lots of people call Paris the City of Love I’d like to believe because of the romantic energy that the City exudes, when I go there I will come back with better feedback on how true that is. However, one thing I can say is, judging from the pictures of Paris that I have seen I am close to believing that narrative. Just imagine going to the Palace of Versailles with your partner, they’d probably have to call security for me to vacate the building because I’d be admiring too many things from the outside and the inside of the building, and the few hours of that visit would not be sufficient for me.
I’m sure we can all agree that the infrastructure and the architecture from Paris are world-class and most probably one of the reasons that would make me want to go and explore it more. Being born and bred in Port Elizabeth, a city with historic buildings and monuments itself and having to admire those for the most part of my childhood, I think doing it in a different place, supposedly a first world country would be an experience of a lifetime. However, from the visit from “my Paris” I think I might have gotten a glimpse of Champs-Elysees, It’s not even a fraction of the full experience, and probably a small one but I was still fulfilled.
Now, let me tell you about ‘my Paris’ that I have been going on about. Situated about 38 km from Pretoria, just outside of Gauteng and into the North-West Province lies Little Paris. It’s beautifully hidden away on a busy road in Hartbeespoort. ‘My Paris’ comprises an aquarium, gift shops, boutique, deli, and café. Obviously, there was the Eiffel Tower because it wouldn’t be Paris without it right??
My partner and my son decided to take a shot’left and go experience the South African version of Paris in Hartbeespoort and the experience was an enjoyable one, as I said before we were in Paris but we were not in Paris and that was enough for us.
Upon entering the place, driving to the parking lot, there is a big backdrop that has images of certain places in Paris with a background of the Eiffel Tower, in fact, as you go further inside to where the restaurants are, there are more of these backdrops and walls with Paris’s ambiance. On the far end corner, it’s the aquarium where you can go with the little ones to explore more, we were a bit disappointed at the aquarium as there wasn’t really a lot to see. The place is surrounded by restaurants and shops and as you walk further in there is a bridge, and at the end of that bridge, there stands the Eiffel Tower. Walking in the bridge towards the Eiffel Tower there are engraved love padlocks that are surrounding the bridge and the tower. They sell padlocks that can at the entrance of the restaurants so we followed suit, bought our padlocks, got them engraved, and off we went to place them in our chosen spot. I know the real Eiffel Tower doesn’t have that BUT it is what it is.
The restaurants are Paris-themed from the buildings and paintings outside, the décor inside and their menus, you literally get the Paris experience in South Africa. The environment is nice and chilled with people acting all touristy, taking pictures and just having a good time. We enjoyed some time in one of the restaurants (French Toast is the name) and made our way back home.
When we were walking back to the parking we could not help but notice a theatre-like looking building just on the corner, we decided to go and have a look at what was happening there and it was a vintage photoshoot studio, according to what I was told, you are given vintage clothes and there is a studio where you can have a photoshoot, obviously, the studio is also Paris themed. It was interesting but not something that I would want to take part in as my Covid-19 paranoia went up and I started thinking of wearing clothes that had not been washed or sanitized and worn by someone who had Covid, so we gave it a pass.
Overall, we had a great experience at Little Paris, hopefully, in a few years, I can come back here boasting about the full Paris experience, the real one this time. We send it out to the Universe!!! Cheers….