Of all the flavors to savor in Paris there may be none more sweeter than the thrill of discovering a hidden courtyard. Maybe it’s because no matter how intimate you may believe your relationship with her to be, Paris has a gaggle of frenzied lovers aggressively vying for her heart which makes it rarer than ever to find a moment alone just the two of you.
Or maybe it’s because you sense a closeness to the locals and true residential life, which is a secret of the city that no foreigner ever really decodes.
Perhaps it’s because touristy Paris is the feature film and the courtyards are the behind-the-scenes clips, reserved only for the initiated and extra-curious. Sometimes it’s as if you’ve caught Paris unawares in her boudoir, after the evening gown and jewelry have come off, and somehow she looks just as good–or even better–behind closed doors.
Or it could be the history, because we’ve all played the “I wonder who trod these cobblestones before me” game. And for good reason: in a town like this you’re never far from the ghostly souls (and soles) of Mozart, Picasso, Chopin, or King Louis-Such-and-Such. And you also sense that one day, whether a future visitor remembers you or not, you will have added your footprints to that list.
Or surely it’s because they’re pretty to look at. Cozy. Or probably it’s the forbidden fruit allure because so many of them are closed to the public.
At any rate they’re an endless source of motivation for an urban explorer, if I may label myself as such, and it’s the prospect of a future private liaison–another intimate tête-à-tête with Paris while no one’s looking–that keeps guys like me in search of spaces like these.
*For more hidden parts of the city read my latest article for Bonjour Paris: http://tinyurl.com/nfhsuv9
*And for a private guided tour of Paris please contact me by clicking “Tour Paris With the French Frye” at the top of the page. A bientôt!