Had I stepped into a photo shoot or my hotel? The lobby of the Gramercy Park Hotel, with its romantic lighting, stunning original art and staff with model looks left me waiting for the flash.
When I read, 'there is the first time we go abroad, and the first time we go to Provence' (Cyril Connolly, 1938) I was skeptical of finding a magic so drastically different from other destinations in Europe.
The train had rocked me to sleep after leaving Paris. A short three hours and few stops later, the whistle of the conductor announced we were pulling into Bordeaux. I almost expected the train station to be surrounded by chateaux, vineyards in long straight rows and winemakers carefully tending their vines.
Notre Dame looked even better in the sunshine. With only a few small clouds for contrast, the 13th century church stood firm and tall, while visitors gazed from its flat top over expansive Paris.
Far from the bustle of the city, it isn't traffic I hear when first waking, but the steady rushing of the River Sheen outside my window.