Flowers are not unique to Paris, but I've always felt they're somehow more beautiful here than anywhere else I've been. There's just something about seeing fresh flowers at the market, or visiting a Parisian flower shop that seems special in someway. It's as though the colors are brighter, the fragrances are stronger, and the arrangements are prettier. There's also the fact that fresh flowers seem to be everywhere. There isn't a street in this town you can walk down without finding a shop or a market selling all varieties of roses, tulips, hydrangea and whatever else happens to be in season. Paris has flowers I've never seen before; an endless variety of shapes and styles just waiting to brighten even the grayest of Parisian days.
Why does it feel like flowers hold a special place in Parisian life? Is it just another example of art de vivre? Maybe along with their penchant for good food, good wine, long lunches and five weeks of mandated vacation time, the French also realize that a good bouquet of flowers can add an unforgettable touch to a dinner table or can simply bring a bit of joy into one's life. Or maybe it does have something to do with the weather. With all the gray and rain that can exist here, a bunch of colorful flowers can help chase away the winter blues. Whatever the reason may be, I never get tired of walking past a Parisian flower shop, admiring the day's fresh selection, and taking a minute or two to stop and smell the roses.