I visited Paris back in March, before I began this little blog. In light of the devastating events that have cast darkness over the city and caused great pain to so many people, I write this post with bittersweet intentions. Bitter, because it was the unspeakable actions of a few deranged individuals that spurred me to write this post, and yet sweet, because I want to remember the time I sent in Paris as illuminating, educating, and happy.
Paris is a beautiful city. This is well known and should be remembered. It is beautiful not only for its buildings and monuments, but for the very way that these buildings and monuments are laid out upon the cities surface. Views from the tops of both the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomph command the city sprayed out below, streets arranged and connected via triangles and circles. The city presents itself from such heights as a geometric maze, at once stunning and intimidating. And while it is known that the city is huge, I still cannot fully comprehend its sheer vastness, even when beholding it from such heights. The city rolls into the distance in every direction, and it is impossible to even guess at its limits.
While I could talk about Paris’ architecture for days and days, I am sure there are many other bloggers who have done so excellently. What I want to remember about Paris in these dark times is its very atmosphere, all at once excited and cosmopolitan, and yet with a calmness provided by the slow boats that glide on the river Seine, illuminated with hundreds of tiny lights at night. There were two moments in particular during which I really felt I was experiencing Paris, and both came somewhat unexpectedly.
The first moment I shall describe was actually one of the last things I did on my trip. I got lost in Paris in the rain. Now, I am the first to admit that I am a true Brit. I complain loudly about the rain, and I complain loudly about a lack of signposts etc. etc. But this was different. Firstly, I was with mon amore, and who better to get lost with than your better half, right? Secondly, we happened to get lost among the most wonderful little alley ways, providing no access to cars and lined with the most alluring restaurants. Combine this with the fact that we happened to stumble upon a chocolatier that sold the most delicious truffles, and you have the basics for a Parisian romance movie, no?
The second moment which captured ‘Paris’ for me (though the first chronologically) came in the form of the magnificently illuminated Eiffel Tower. It was our first evening in Paris, and after a delicious meal we decided to go for a walk and admire the gorgeous structure. And there it was, not only illuminated but glittering. We stood there, silently, while the Eiffel tower glittered before us. And in that moment nothing else was visible, I didn’t even notice the cold (a big deal for a Brit). It was magical. Pray for Paris.