When I set out to write this essay, a vast array of images flashed before my eyes: a villa in Serra de Tramuntana; a lavish penthouse in New York; a cozy fisher cabin in the Fjords...
In the end, I singled out a charming retreat in a cultural city which embodies both a bohemian way of life and style, and which everyone falls in love with. Do you fancy a trip?
In the heart of Paris you will find the elegant stone facade of my five-storey apartment bloc. Its biscuit-coloured stone and grey slate roofs will welcome you. If you enter the code that unlocks the wrought-iron gate and push it open, you will find yourself in a cobbled courtyard. Big glass doors will lead you to a wood-paneled lobby, where a thick red carpet dresses a marble staircase. Beyond, you can see another, bigger courtyard garden with well-manicured lawn and shady chestnut trees.
On the fifth floor landing, fumble in your pockets for your keys and open the main entrance door.
Beautifully polished parquet flooring, littered with fine Persian carpets, will lead you from room to room. You can admire the elegant moulded ceilings, the marble fireplace and the mirror above. Antique furniture stands gracefully against cream painted walls: Louis XIV chairs, a refined nineteenth century table, a jade stonework and mother-of-pearl storage cabinet... The walls are covered in art.
Sunlight streams through the tall, slender windows, giving the spacious room a golden bath. Soft silken curtains are draped around them, tied back with silken cord.
Rows of stylish designer clothes hang in the wardrobe and uncountable shoes lie along the rail beneath them. Dresser drawers are filled with neatly pressed shirts and high-quality lingerie.
You can cross the hall to the study, which adjoins the living room. A glazed bookcase holds a huge collection of literary classics, first editions and valuable books. Open shelves on either side of the door are crammed with well-thumbed books with creased spines and dog-eared fly-leaves.
At the window there is a soft leather armchair, flanked by a drink table and a state-of-the-art sound system. Pour yourself a glass of Beaujolais, take a seat and enjoy the stunning view of Paris stretching out before you. Boats slide calmly along the Seine and the towers of Notre Dame are silhouetted against the sky. Below, people idle the day away in sidewalk cafés, sipping coffee and watching the world go by.
If you feel like it, you can go down and indulge in the gorgeous life that characterises the City of Light. Nurse a beer and watch the street animated by boutiques, passerby, florists and rambling tourists.
And, who knows? Paris is claimed to be the City of Love...
Back in the apartment, a king-size bed will be a great welcome after a long day of taking in this luring bohemian way of life. You will be awaken by the golden beams of the morning sun and the subtle scent of the courtyard.
But it is high time you and I came back to reality.