Paris Je T’aime…if only (le sigh)!


Is that so strange that a city that has enraptured poets and artists for centuries, should leave me so unmoved? Gil Pender in Midnight in Paris muses “To know that Paris exists and anyone would choose to live anywhere else is a mystery to me”. He would definitely not have approved of me. Now don’t get me wrong – I was ready to fall headlong in love with Paris even before I had actually visited it. I had walked on the rues of Paris with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in Before Sunset; followed the adventures of Amelie across Paris in her quest to bring happiness to others; marveled at the exquisiteness of French food in Ratatouille; sat in a petit French cafe, watching the world go by and delighted in having a baguette and cheese picnic by the Seine a million times.

Only, when I actually was in Paris I realized that the petit French cafes were too busy in August for a dreamy-eyed tourist to lounge idly. That a baguette is hard to carry around when you’re trying to cram the museum trips, the church visits and the picnic all in one visit. That soft cheese begins to smell if it is carried for long in your bag. That there may be dog poop on the grass by the Seine! No kidding.

Even though I began in that vein, I don’t mean to carp about a city that is beautiful. In retrospect, I think I was there at the wrong time (in August); I hit too many touristy places, which were a complete circus; didn’t plan adequately enough; and finally, I let my pre-conceived notions of “But, that’s not what happens in the movies…” get in the way of fun.

Notice the tourist throng around the Winged Victory of Samothrace and Monalisa: This is what Paris was like in August.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Spot the Monalisa

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1. Winged Victory of Samothrace 2. The famous da Vinci painting 3. Pyramide du Louvre 4. Sailing les petits bateaux in the parks of Paris 5. Oscar Wilde’s tomb 6. Gustave Caillebotte’s tomb 7. A restaurant in Montmarte 8. The Seine 9. Notre Dame de Paris 10. La Tour Eiffel

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