Bonjour! It’s 5 am in Paris. It’s a lovely 60 degrees outside, and I’m still slightly jet-lagged, so I sit at the open window, listening to the sounds of the city at night. This is my first time in Europe, and so far, it has been image parfaite, picture perfect. I often think of big cities as being dirty, with too many high-rise buildings and not enough greenery. Most of the cities I’ve been to–Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Vancouver, Seattle–have fit this description. Non Paris.
Everything here speaks of culture and heritage. The buildings are centuries–not decades–old. Balconies are made of carefully-shaped wrought iron. Flower boxes decorate the sides of the buildings, adding color and life. The architecture is grand and curving. Only a few blocks away from our hotel is the Notre Dame Cathedral, which has stood there for 850 years. It’s impressive to walk by, let alone enter.
Of course, I don’t have to say anything about the food. Crêpes, sorbets, chocolats, pâtisseries. You could eat your way into oblivion before lunchtime.
What is is that makes a city special? Of course there is still ugliness–trash on the streets, drunks lying out on the sidewalk, people smoking everywhere. But the beauty and history here are astounding, and help to hide the downsides of masses living in one small area.
They say that Paris is a romantic city, le ville de l’amour, and I’m inclined to agree. Perhaps because it’s the first European city I’ve ever visited, I’ve fallen in love with Paris first. Il est merveilleux d’être ici. Look that one up yourself.