I lived in the most beautiful city of the world.
It was though, it was complicated, it was new and scary at first. But I’ve never seen so much beauty in a city. And I can tell you that the energy, the romantic and positive vibe you feel in Paris it can’t be found anywhere else.
What it’s like to live in Paris? Well at first is chaotic. I remember the first time I took the metro I thought I would suffocate. I come from a small town and the sea of people coming out of the trains literally terrorized me. Every 2 minutes wagons bursting of people were coming to my station and I actually had to wait a few before I could recover from the shock. Floods of people, everywhere, anytime. In the metro, in the train station, at the airport, at the university, in the streets. Everywhere you want to go, especially if you really want to go there, is surrounded by an endless queue: from restaurants to museums.
But what it’s really special about Paris is that you can find any (ANY) kind of people (different for race, skin colour, hairdos, accents and so on…). But to me the most fascinating one still remains the Parisian prototype. You can recognize it from the distance in any kind of situation, even in the hugest crowds. In the supermarkets, or in the subway or in the middle of whatever mess you can find them perfectly calm in the corner, strengthened by years lived in the big city. The Parisian is always incredibly cute, well-dressed and has that inner elegance that you just can’t learn. You either have it or you don’t. In fact during your long and perilous trips on public transports you actually might find something fun to do: staring intensely at women’s hairstyles. They look so casual and easy, but for a non-French girl they are IMPOSSIBLE. Trust me, I spent many hours in front of the mirror asking myself why that simple and casual bun, that looked so easy on that girl, on me looks like I slept on the sidewalk last night. Don’t even ask yourself why they manage to look so tall with ballerinas and you look like you had a shrinking surgery. So, as I made very clear, you can’t compete with Parisians. And you can’t really socialize with them too.
When you try to approach a typical Parisian he or she already knows that you are not one of them. That’s probably because you don’t look like one (sigh), you have a terrible accent (and even worst: an Italian accent!) and you were kind to them. No Parisian alive approaches another Parisian with kindness. You can’t really say they’re rude, even though sometimes they are, but they simply treat each other with roughness. Of course if you are an étrangere you deserves to be treated worst and if you start to talk in English you don’t even deserve their attention. I know I might sound angry when I talk about the Parisian but actually I am not. To me they look incredibly elegant even when they are rude and in a way the more you live around them the more you end up missing that kind of roughness. It’s kind of tender the way they are so rude to each other and each time I hear that sharp French voice they use when they want to make you feel inadequate about something I think: wow, I’m home. I think Americans might be shocked about them, cause you guys are always so nice and helpful. Let’s say we are in a store in America: Americans store clerks always greet you at the entrance, they even ask you how is your day. In Paris the shop assistant just stares at you like what the fuck you want from my store and doesn’t even say hi when you run away terrorized. I really have to say though that every time I was in need no one denied me their help. They are though and sharp in the outside, but they have a very kind heart in the inside. That’s why I love them so much: they aren’t by any meaning fake.
What made my stay special though was the city itself. Have you ever had the luck to go to the Louvre on an ordinary Monday? Without the usual crowd I could stare for an endless time at the Vergine delle Rocce of Leonardo or at The Raft of Gericault. I also had the pleasure to get lost in the Egiptian/Roman section (I really didn’t know how to get out) and I’ve seen enough tombs and vases for years.
I saw every museum of the town, every single painting I wanted to see that I studied in high school. I saw the beautiful Orangerie with the Nymphéas of Monet, I saw his son’s private collection with the beautiful Impression. Soleil levant, I saw the majestic architecture of the Musée d’Orsay, I went to the top of the Tour Eiffel, I went to Disneyland, I strolled up and down the Champs Elisées, I went up in the Montmartre hill and so on. Even though these were just touristic stuff that anyone can do, I loved doing them with the people I love the most. For each site I visited I remember the people who where with me and the adventure we were living (like finding yourself in a hailstorm at Place de la Concorde while 2 seconds before the sky was clear) .
Having 6 months to spend in Paris allowed me to see things that usually you don’t have the time to see. I enjoyed the walk up in the Coulade Vert, a sort of High Line of New York, which takes you for a suspended walk through the rooftops of Paris. By the way I should open up a chapter about Paris’ toits but I will just recommend you to look at them because they can’t be found anywhere else.
I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon in the Canal Saint-Martin on a (rare) sunny day and to go for an aperitif in the beautiful Le Comptoir Général.
I could spend my afternoon wandering around the streets of the Marais, looking at the most beautiful shops I ever seen, and chilling at the amazing Place des Vosges (which reminds you that sometimes perfection exists).
I could eat at Chez Gladine which is an experience itself.
I could watch the sun go down while having an happy hour on the Seine, with the best people I ever met.
I could eat at the Bellevilloise, sipping wine and listening to amazing live music.
I could go to any place with a dancefloor: from Point Ephemere to Wanderlust, from Mixx Club to (incredible!) Chez George. Places I would never go if I was home. And every night you went out you had the opportunity to meet loads of people coming from all over the world.
What I will always remember though are the sunsets I saw: at the Champs de Mars looking at the Eiffel Tower all surrounded by pink clouds, at Montmartre where the city looks so big, up in the Montparnasse tower, or again down at the Seine banks right in front of the Ile Saint Louis where sometimes a band starts playing and we all dance, or up at the Pantheon…. The list never ends.
And I just realized I should have talked about food, especially about crepes, wine and gardens in the spring time, about the constant rain or my attempts to do some jogging in the Belleville park or at Buttes-Chaumont, both failed because they are on high hills and I didn’t know that, or about the fact that everything is so expensive so you measure everything you buy and you become a beeraholic because is all you can afford to drink… But this post is already way to long.
Thank you for reading and go to Paris!