A message from our Editor in Chief, Arabella Bowen:
When I’m in Paris, I feel like a different person. There’s a poetry to speaking French that utterly changes the way I think. Plus, the city itself is a visual feast: The French appreciation for beauty extends to the smallest details, including their lavish window treatments. To wit: When window shopping, the French say “Je vais faire du lèche vitrine”—literally, I’m going to lick the window.
My mother spent formative years in Paris in her twenties. As well as insisting I learn French as a child, she instilled in me a deep love of the city. I’ve been going at least once a year for as long as I can remember. And even when I'm in Paris, I'm usually thinking about when I can return to Paris.
The shocking attacks on Friday affected me deeply, as they did so many of us around the world. I could picture the streets where the shootings took place (two of my favorite restaurants, Clamato and Septime, are neighbors of La Belle Equipe on rue Charonne). My family had planned to spend the holidays in Paris this year. The first thing we did, after checking that everyone we knew there was safe, was ask ourselves if we were still going. It was quickly and unanimously decided that we would not cancel our plans. Where before we were going for the sheer love of the place, now we are also going in a show of solidarity.
Fodor’s readers love Paris, too—and have expressed similar sentiments. Many of them, including some who are there right now, have been sharing their reactions to the attacks, their feelings about the city, and their thoughts on future travel plans on our forums all weekend. You can join their conversation here.
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The fact that Paris was attacked a day after Beirut, often called the Paris of the East, was not lost on me. I made my first trip to Beirut three weeks ago and was captivated by its cosmopolitan scene, centuries of history, and engaging people.
Had I not been to Beirut myself, I wouldn't have experienced the news of its events so personally and felt a deep sense of grief for its people as well.
This is, ultimately, why traveling matters. Beyond seeing “the sights,” travel to foreign lands is about forging a lasting, personal connection with people and places. It narrows the distance between us.
Our founder, Eugene Fodor, felt similarly. Profiled in Condé Nast Traveler near the end of his life, he said, “What’s important is that we all learn as we travel. We wake up to the fact that everyone has his rights and way of life. In the war we used to say that you can’t shoot an enemy soldier who shows you a picture of his family; it’s hard to hate people whose country you’ve visited.”
Paris, we stand with you. I’ll see you in December.