Monday, July 11, 2016

As Observed by An American in Paris

Paris is always a good idea.
~Audrey Hepburn

After what felt like the longest day in memory, I am back from Paris.

And lest you think that's hyperbole, I'm talking rising at 6:30 a.m. French time and finally sliding between my own sweet sheets at the equivalent of 4 a.m. French time, a feat I'd never attempt at home.

But for Paris, anything.

I'm not saying it was a perfect place - too many smokers, tourists and selfie sticks - but I could definitely see what Audrey was talking about.

It's satisfying to be in a place where even older women always have on stylish shoes. Never in my life have I seen so many pairs of vividly colored shoes (the robin's egg blues! the petal pinks!) or the array of non-sensible cute shoes on the street...and don't even get me started on the abundance of sassy heels on women riding bikes.

Just as agreeable is a culture built around cafe society. No matter what meal time or in between it is, neighborhoods are lively with people sipping coffee or wine, talking or people-watching, for all I know, just passing time with a view.

And rare is the place that doesn't have a patio or, at the very least, a few tables strategically placed along the sidewalk, alley or street.

Best of all, table turnover is neither the expectation nor the norm. No one is going to rush over to greet you with menus and water when you sit down nor are they going to bring you your second course (or third or fourth) while you're still lingering over the prior one.

Especially near and dear to my heart were the open windows on every building, shutters flung wide whether it was gray and 63 or sunny and 75. These Parisians are no weather wimps and, like me, seem to appreciate the beauty of fresh air over that which is conditioned.

Translation: I would not be nearly the oddball there that I am here for my desire to bring the outdoors in all summer long.

Everywhere, a glance turned up architecture worth noting, street signs with mini-history lessons on them and public sculpture of important figures I did or should have known. You can't swing a dead chat without hitting a coiffure salon or patisserie. Boats parallel park along the Seine like houses arranged on a watery street. Colorful flower shops crop up on practically every block, a testament to the importance of a little beauty in daily life. Every third person walks by with baguette in hand, some already munching the heel.

Your city is a wonderland, Paris. Thanks for the memories.

4 comments:

  1. Paris is the best for all of the reasons you list. There is no place that feels like it; every time I leave I cry.

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  2. Truly, it was a world unto itself. Already looking forward to going back!

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  3. you are not an oddball...you just live in the wrong place!

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