Paris, France is a place of beauty, a place of inspiration, a place of magic. These are just a few ways that Paris is described. From being the City of Lights to the City of Love, Paris is truly a magnificent adventure.
After having visited Paris three times while in high school, I imagined myself moving there and teaching English to adorable French boys and girls. I imagined that I would be swept off my feet by the perfect, most handsome, Frenchman. I imagined I would spend my afternoons sitting at table with the perfect view of the street while I wrote my own great American novel. So, when the opportunity arose in college to study abroad in Paris, I leaped at the opportunity to live with the Parisians.
Eagerly I hopped on the plane and crossed the Atlantic once more, all the romantic notions swimming through my mind. My literature of choice for the plane ride was none other than The Great Gatsby because Fitzgerald was one of the great writers who soaked in Paris. La Coupole was the only restaurant that I was determined to enjoy. I wanted to sit at a sidewalk table, drinking caf au lait, while I imagined the greats, like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, Josephine Baker making their way into the restaurant. I wanted to breathe the air that once seeped with artistic ambiance.
Living in Paris during the fall brought so much excitement; I can’t help but talk about it today. 2002 was the inaugural year of La Nuit Blanche or White Night. It was the most crowded I’d ever seen Paris, but who wouldn’t come out for free entry to galleries, museums, even swimming pools. My group of friends and I decided two main attractions that we absolutely needed to make it to were, of course, the Eiffel Tower and also the Catacombs. It was almost like a dream, and since we didn’t get any sleep that night, I wonder if there was anything that I dreamt up.
Wandering the streets of Paris, it was amazing to see all the lights remaining on. I still think the Eiffel Tower is beautiful at night, no matter how many Parisians tell you that it is the ugliest thing in Paris. Trying to get through the crowds was miserable at times. I don’t think they planned on that being as popular as it was, but going through the Catacombs in the middle of the night gave us that much more of a chill. There were no thoughts about homework that weekend for sure.
When I look back on the time I spent in Paris, I can’t help but think of the 1920s and the Lost Generation. There is a reason they came to Paris. You can feel a sense of acceptance and self. I looked at Paris as the answer to all my problems. I wanted to find out who I was and I felt that I could be me. I spent countless hours wandering the streets of Paris and thinking about Fitzgerald wandering down the same street. It was the most amazing experience to live in Paris. One day I will return and live there again.