Four years ago, I spent a magical summer in Paris, capturing memories in a long-forgotten blog. Every Thursday, I’ll post my favorite entries from that blog. This is reprinted from 7-4-10.
So now I know why they call Paris the city of love. There are lovers everywhere. Quite literally. They walk hand in hand on the streets, they litter the lawns with their cuddling, and fill the cafes, whispering to each other over glasses of red wine. And with lovers, comes PDA,which starts up my list of things I learned in paris today.
1. PDA EVERYWHERE. And yes, kissing candidly on a park bench in the Luxembourg Gardens is cute. But playing tonsil hockey on the metro is not.
2. Men in paris love short shorts. Both the jogging and the going around town kind. In fact the couples in Paris have an unspoken rule that when a couple is walking side by side in shorts, the men’s must be shorter than the girl’s. Parisian men, take note. Unless this looks like you, please don’t wear short shorts.
3. Parisians drink tea from bowls. This morning, as I had my bowl of muesli I was delighted that parisians appreciate my fondness for big tea cups and for tea. Besides the fact that my own cup at home looks a lot like a bowl with a handle, this was a wonderful discovery. Expect many pictures of bowls filled with tea.
4. “Old Paris is no more”. I think the words of Baudelaire sum up my experience perfectly. Talking to a friend earlier today, it’s true that Paris is more raw and doesn’t quite have the Edith Piaf sound track playing constantly in the background than I thought, but once you look past the swarms of tourists and the persistent street peddlers, this city is truly beautiful
Highlights of the day:
La Tour Eiffel:
I couldnt spend one more day in Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower so off to the 7th arrondissement I went. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the tower is definitely a lot larger than I once thought. The French are obviously making up for something. But yet, I stood there dumbfounded for about fifteen minutes, with my mouth gaping open. Because I was there, at the Eiffel tower. And no amount of people to people groups (I saw two) could have ruined that moment.
My first Parisian meal:
After a year in college, I just don;t understand why wine still affects me so strongly. One glass of wine, albeit a classy French Bordeaux, and I was already feeling it go to my head slightly. I guess this is what Baudelaire meant when he said, enivrez-vous.
Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question.
Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.
Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue,
demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est;
et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer!
Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.
Or perhaps not. But I am getting inebriated off of culture and the beautiful streets, French poetry, and the view from Le Sacre Coeur. That French meal, I took my wine with an Italian salad, the only vegetarian option on the menu. Arugula, parmesan, mozzarella, tomatoes, and olive oil that came in a spray bottle as well as a balsamic vinegarette. Delicieux!
Le 18eme arrondissement where I live is just a ten minute walk from Sacre Coeur. However, those ten minutes don’t necessarily account for the 45 degree incline that one must climb to reach Sacre Coeur. I felt like I was trekking to a sacred temple, which in a way, I was. But the view from the steps and the lawn is just as beautiful as they it is:
The Sacre Coeur however also brought a low point of my day. Some little kid sneezed on my leg. And not just a sneeze, or a wet sneeze, but a ‘wad of saliva on my ankle’ sneeze. Needless to say, I was not happy. Thankfully the Sacre Coeur comes with fountains. I lay on the grass for a good two hours reading baudelaire and hoping that I look at least a bit like a Parisian native. And then I was hit on by a balding french guy who sang operatic music to me.
Overall, this day was wonderful. Genial comme on dit en Français.
Gelatos eaten: 1, Glasses of Bordeaux drunken: 1, Bridges crossed across the seine: 4, Times lost on the metro: 0.