I’m not certain precisely when it was that I fell in love with Paris; I couldn’t give you the exact moment…
Perhaps it was early on that morning, staring out the window when the mother and her young son emerged from their courtyard gates, got on kick scooters, rode to the end of the street, waved each other goodbye and continued on their scooters, going opposite directions. The scene was evocative of a kind of simplicity that speaks to me.
There are a different little incidents and encounters, possibly too many to list – like the old shopkeeper and the black woman in conversation; they are mostly complaining, then the woman laughs and says “We wouldn’t be Parisians if we were content” she pauses for a moment and says… “We’re unsatisfied but not unhappy”.
She stood behind me as I waited for the light to change, I sensed a tinge of impatience as she moved closer, she said “My child, we’re going to cross the street now”. In that moment I understood exactly what she meant without having to think about every word, phrase and tense, almost as if she’d said it in English.
I checked to make sure there were no cars coming, I stepped onto the street, crossing without waiting for the ‘Walk’ sign, a blithe Parisian practice I wouldn’t dare think of trying back home.
Then there was the night of Nuit Blanche, the massive crowds unlike anything I’d ever seen.
I stood in an absurdly long line waiting hours for a chance to walk under purple rain with an umbrella.
I didn’t go to sleep until after 5AM that night; we had crepes and wine past midnight, saw awesome art installations and walked for hours.
I lost a part of my heart to the city that night – you can’t wander a city at night and not fall in love a little.
Maybe it’s the people I met, especially les expats and the sparkle in their eye as they spoke of how they came to be in Paris and life thereafter. They’d tell you…living in France isn’t easy and reminisce about the places they’re from – and yet there’s nowhere else they’d rather be.
Like the California girl and her Northern Irish husband; they got married in Paris – and even though they live in the UK now they spend their weekends in Paris, because there’s a certain magic here they can’t find elsewhere.
It wasn’t the dreamy lights, surreal architecture or abundance of wine that seduced me; it was the simplicity, the elegance, and the carefree attitude – that joie de vivre
Again, I don’t know when it happened, but as I sat in that cramped plane waiting to be flown home, I knew this was going to be a drawn out affair.
One day… when I have the wherewithal and patience to deal with bureaucracy and paperwork, I’ll live in Paris… with the love of my life.