My happy place

An Instagram account about happiness and Paris, and happiness in Paris. A small glimpse into the lives of people who accept to share with the world their favorite places.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris
©Patricia Boateng

The question is: what’s your favorite place in Paris? The answer is always different. I created this profile on Instagram in October driven by the curiosity to know what makes people happy. I wanted to know which was their secret shelter. I sincerely didn’t expect this result. I’ve been collecting cute stories like René one. He couldn’t tell me his favorite place but that of his wife, an artist who at that time was working in London. Her happy place is the Musée de l’Orangerie. So every now and then he went there, he video called her and showed her the Monet Nymphéas, which is her favorite artist. When I asked him if he loved this place as much as she did, he said “no, but if she’s happy, I am happy”. Things you do for love, right?

It’s more difficult to answer this question when you hate the city you live in and no matter how hard you try, you can’t make yourself like it. This happened to Zineb when she was forced to follow her family and leave her hometown. She told me that she feels unhappy in France. A feeling of melancholy accompanies her. Anyway, even if it is a contradiction, the only place where she feels serene is a park near the Eiffel Tower. She likes to sit on a bench and admire the symbol of the city she hates. She feels « almost » happy.

Plage Bogatell, Barcelone
©Patricia Boateng

The profile was born to ask people about their special places in Paris, but I recently made a little trip to Barcelona, so I took the opportunity to ask this question to Spanish people. Again, I listened to love stories. I met a couple, Elena and Marta. Their favorite place in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia because they did meet there three years ago, randomly. From that moment on, they never separated. And then Pablo, a 56-year-old man, who lived in Madrid, shared with me his big love for the sea. He didn’t even let me finish the question, he was so fast, he kept repeating: “the sea, the sea, the sea” with a big smile on his face. “I would die without the sea. I don’t know how to explain this attachment… when I was a kid, I learned to swim and fell in love, and I haven’t stopped since.” I do understand him. Barcelona beach is wonderful. You can find some photos on my account @myyhappy_place but you better go to see it with your eyes.

It is a pleasure to hear each anecdote, to see the passion in people eyes, to discover something about their lives. There are so many beautiful places to visit in the world and so many amazing stories to listen to. I am still curious. What is your favorite place?

Patricia Boateng

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