« A sweet memory is still a happiness».
Louis-Philippe de Ségur, Le temps, 1816.
Paris will always be Paris.
Hello, young Padawan from Paname* and elsewhere,
The ex-bobo Parisian who left Paris to go green, what a cliché. Here we are, right in there. It is not easy for me to assume, but we are deep down into it.
Paris is France, and it is not; it is a marvelous and irritating city, singular and cliché, the most beautiful and sometimes the ugliest, an oxymoron by itself, but always a city of character.
This is what makes Paris’ charm, but you have to know how to tame it. The noise, the crowd, the pestilential odors, walking in its alleys avoiding the dog poops which make its reputation so much – yet when you leave it, it is the smell of fresh bread, of paving stones wet by the rain, the the beauty of the flowers of the gardens of Montmartre and the powdery perfume of the Parisian woman in high heels that you remember.
You forget everything else.
What smells of garbage cans? What metro strikes? Traffic jams on the periphery, really? The crowded subway, the dirty streets? The unfriendly Parisians? Are you sure? Everything, I tell you.
In your heart, mind and soul, you only keep the best.
From Paris with Love
When you moved a few years ago, and you go back there, you make yourself your little remembering trip, you go back to the places where you have your best memories, places that for a tourist would have no interest.
Rue Duperré, it’s not the Champs Élysées, but it’s where you had your first kiss with “Brandon,” more than ten years of history of your life that started there (Yes, it’s in Pigalle neighborhood, but no, it is not what you think, lol, ed).
A memorable memory of an evening with friends 12 years ago on avenue de la Motte-Picquet. For sure, it’s not the Louvre, but it’s your own Pandora’s box.
Just behind the Louvre, rue de Rivoli, this is where you tried your wedding dress with your childhood friends.
In Bastille, you spent lots of evenings. Nights, laughing with friends, colleagues too, besides some colleagues have become your friends.
Queue at the FNAC Forum des Halles to grab tickets for metal concerts. Are there still people doing this now that we have the internet?
Yes, you will have understood, this paragraph in the “you” must be read in fact in the “I”, lots of memories, a part of my life, my youth, ouch! It hurts the ego – I’m not young anymore, but I’m not old as well: let’s say I’m Yold.
And then you will visit your friends, family, former colleagues, the courageous ones who remained in the Parisian gray against all odds, you make new memories, and you enjoy the best aspects of this city that so many foreigners fantasize about, while for you, it is just your city.
Well then, before turning corny, I stop there with my city, because yes, Paris belongs to everyone who loves it. To you to me, to Parisians, ex-Parisians, suburbanites, French, foreigners – if you have a memory dear to your heart there, this is your city.
Every time you go back to Paris, it will give it back to you a hundredfold.
And don’t be afraid of pollution because: “Breathing Paris preserves the soul.” Victor Hugo.
*Paname : Paris in French slang.