I want to tell you about Paris. And its wide boulevards of warn cobblestone that has been driven over by countless cars. Avenues that branch out into slender side streets with charming stores and little shops. Tall buildings designed by architects that loved high windows; curves and arches; sculpted balconies; ornate railings; and attic windows that opened out to the sky.
If I could tell you about Paris, I would say: This city is a painting. With charcoal streets lined with lush green trees. Beige stone buildings peppered with greens and blacks, blues and grays, silvers and reds. Bridges cutting jagged lines through a low horizon above a river that curves through the landscape. The water brings texture to a living painting as passing boats send rippling waves towards the banks. The bridges are doorways literally to another side of life. And when you look at Paris, you see a wide landscape of a delicate city where the architecture has a soul.
It’s a walking city that beckons you to explore it. There are luscious gardens that may have once been grand estates. Old buildings that loom over grassy fields where lovers picnic. When you walk through the Jardin du Luxembourg, you pass the green chairs set on the sides of the wide sandy path. Where once Hemmingway sat, as did Picasso and Man Ray, contemplating the consciousness of their day. Stories this city could tell. The history of the city of love.
People exit buses, looking quickly around them in order to gain their bearings before quickly setting off in their desired direction. The sidewalks are filled with inquisitive visitors and Parisians, who are carefully dressed to acquire an appreciative glance, but not attract too much attention. They dress is blazers and jackets; blue jeans and pencil skirts; scarves tied around their necks; Italian leather loafers and delicate high heels. Women wear their outfits with pride while men saunter with determination; purpose.
I sit in a café and feel the breeze move in through the open doors. Wall to ceiling windows let in the sun, which does not find itself tempted to set until 10pm. I sit where patrons long before me challenged and changed our opinions of art, literature and film, as well as history and politics. I romanticize Paris, but there is a reason that people like me become ex-pats. There is a reason Paris beckons us to its streets and gardens; to its bars and cafés; to seeking out any way to make this life work; to gamble everything for everything.
I wish you’d see this…