This post comes from one of our summer interns, FP Gigi!
There are places so deeply enshrouded in mythology that they almost don’t seem real anymore. Paris is most certainly one of those destinations. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend two blissful weeks wandering around the city this past May, and most of the time I found myself feeling astounded just witnessing Paris simply being Paris. I couldn’t contain the reflex of envy springing up inside me when I watched Parisian teens congregating outside of a non-descript and smoky local bar, or an elderly woman on the metro obviously on her way home from work with a baguette tucked inside her worn-in tote bag. These moments of picturesque Paris life made me weak at the knees with delight, and made my Parisian friends roll their eyes giggling at someone finding (to them) monotonous, daily routines so “romantic”.
Parisians have such an unaffected way about them. They spoke quietly, quickly, but the sound was so smooth and unaltered that the melodiousness of the language danced around my head like a beautiful piece of music. Because even on the rather filthy Parisian metro, I found myself discovering twinkles of inspiration and beauty.
The people, like their city, were just as enchanting to observe. Parisians put themselves together so superbly, but I thought the best part was the pragmatism and nonchalance in their appearance. It was honest. Not dictated by trends, or trying to hide the person’s individuality. The women had bare faces, maybe a dash of subtle makeup, and their hair was gloriously unkempt. I loved waking up and immediately being able to embrace the day without the chaotic and time consuming task of hair styling. In a place many regard as the epicenter of the world’s fashion, I began to think less about my appearance and trust my instincts. It was so refreshing. Liberating.
There was also an intimacy between people in Paris I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Everyone would be out till the early hours of the morning talking, laughing, physically absorbing the moments around them. The streets wouldn’t quiet down until about 4 or 5 AM. People had an altruistic commitment to the present, to companionship; their attention was never impeded by a cell phone. It was a different experience that reminded me to not hide from natural silences at the end of conversations, and to spend time with friends watching their lovely faces rather than a computer screen.
You know, I still can’t quite put my finger on why Paris is so… cool. But, that’s the point isn’t it? To defy explanation protects the magic.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
– Ernest Hemingway