Ah Paris. You really won me over.
I’m going to start by saying something that will make you roll your eyes so hard and think that you cannot relate to me at all: I have never wanted to go to Paris. The only reason I decided to go was because it was on my way home and I wanted to check it off “the list.”
Let me explain.
“Paris is always a good idea,” said Audrey Hepburn, to which I would respond, “sure if you’re thin, rich, white, and own a lot of black clothing.” The movie Midnight in Paris is wonderful, but I couldn’t help but watch it and think how if Owen Wilson’s character was a woman, it would be a much different movie. Think less quiet strolls among twinkling street lamps, and more like Morroccan dudes yelling at you as you power walk to your destination with your hood on and head down.
I’m also just not a huge Ernest Hemingway fan, and he goes around claiming Paris is a “moveable feast.”
I know that you can apply some version of these anecdotes to any number of cities, but I had fastened them all onto Paris; and honestly, I just wasn’t in the mood.
For all of that, I must apologize.
As I walked out of Nord railway Station at 9 am, I was wonderstruck (to borrow the T Swift term). I spent 24 hours wandering through Paris, and in my short time there I found it to be beautiful and diverse and complex.
It felt like art and life, the intersection of the two.
I stayed in Montmartre at Vintage Hostel, which was totally lovely and perfect. It was just a five minute walk from Sacre Coeur so I walked up there first thing to see the view of Paris.
I walked from there down to the Seine to see the Notre Dame Cathedral and the [outside of] the Louvre. I bought bread and cheese and sat in the sun by the river to eat. Then I walked along to the river till I reached the Eiffel tower.
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and the point of life.” Bold claim, Thomas Jefferson, but I get it. Paris is so many things.
I took the metro back up to Montemartre and went back to the Sacre Coeur to see the view of Paris at night. I bought a crepe on my way back to the hostel and ate it under a twinkling street lamp (and a good distance away from the yelling Moroccan men). It felt like life and it felt like fairytales. And I think that’s what made Paris beautiful to me. It’s magic, and it’s real.
“The chief danger about Paris is that it is such a strong stimulant.” -T.S. Eliot