OK, I’m about to get all cliche up in here. But I really really really love Paris. Like, really. (Just in case you didn’t get that.) Since it’s 3:30a.m. and I’m tres exhausted, here’s un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq…. reasons why J’adore Paris.
Un: You can walk this town. All of it. Yes, you’d be tired and it may take you longer. But it’s feasible. You know how in a rearview car mirror it says, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”? Well, it’s sorta like that in Paris. You look at a map and think, “I have to walk to the 10th and the 7th by way of the 3rd? (I’m talking arrondissements, here.) But it just happens. Those little blue and white street signs suddenly change and you’ve made your way around the clock, you rockin’ robin you!
Deux: That said, the metro rocks. It’s not as clean as the tube, but it’s damn near as efficient. Trains run often and on time (stations even have the countdown timers telling you when one’s coming!) In just 20 minutes, I went from the Marais to the Eiffel Tower, which would be the equivalent to going from East London to Balham or the West Village to the UES, the latter two of which would take at least double that time. I also love that in one station there was a fruit stand (take that, er, Subway!) and in another there was what seemed like an art installation.
Trois: The Light. There’s the cliche. But it’s true. I get why it gets its nickname. And it’s not the artificial twinkling of that famous tower lit up at night; or the iconic red signs touting a tabac or brasserie, but it’s how the natural sunshine — or even lackthereof — hits a graffiti wall or a historic monument or a budding tree in such a way that makes the scene so unique, so stunning and so timeless.
Quatre: They smoke without abandon here. Don’t get me wrong: I am not a fan of The Smoking. But somehow, Parisians not only make it tolerable, but they also make it seem appealing. The way they light one cigarette before even finishing their last; the way they hold it so effortlessly between their pointer and middle finger, pursing their lips with such ease to inhale and then exhale, blowing the smoke away as if it were the most pleasurable bother in the world. Paris wouldn’t be Paris without fumeur.
Cinq: It can feel so foreign, and so familiar at the same time. One minute you’ll be walking around going, “This is not my city, not my language, not my clean air being polluted by cigarette smoke that manages to smell sexy” and then BOOM, you see something that reminds you of home and makes you go, “Oh wait, but it can be.” Case in point: This brasserie called Sarah Bernhardt brought me back to standing on top of the mustard-yellow carpeted steps of my grandparents’ house crying while my grandpa yelled, “Stop your whining! You know who you’re acting like? Sarah Bernhardt.” (I had no idea who that was, but I eventually found out he was calling me a drama queen.)
Who, me? Couldn’t be!
C’est finis. Bon soir!*