Paris is a city for artists. Everyone has their own version of Paris. At the mention of the city of love some daly in daydreams of a wistful glance from a parisian lover or the fluttering of lashes hinting at flirtation from across a cafe. For the poet and the philosopher taking their coffee bitter and black inside of the infamous Cafe de Flore, Paris is Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Rousseau, and Voltaire.
I had little patience for Hemingway and a world wind romance with the parisian waiter called for an understanding of a language in which I had no understanding of.
My Paris was a city for artists. A plethora of inspirations awaited me around every beautifully sculpted corner. Inks, charcoals, and watercolors was what made up my Paris.
Maybe it was because it was all so new and wonderful to me. Maybe it was because I knew it was all going to be so very brief and curt like Hemingway. Whatever the case, I eagerly soaked up every cigarette smoke, drunken french, and bad wine, like Van Gogh would have inhaled anti-depressants had he lived in the 21st century, in my ernest pursuit of artistic enlightenment. I was convinced it would somehow be found in this city.
I sketched imaginary lovers under the perpetually cloud blanketed skies. Droplets of green speckled my ballet flats, remnants of my attempt at capturing the tree lined boulevards with my dinky little watercolor palette. My heart had made its way up to my throat by the time I was five feet away from a J.M.W Turner painting in the Louvre. And yet it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t until my tour group and I got stuck in the middle of the city at 12:30 pm because we missed the last metro to our hotel, The Kyriad in a Parisian suburb called Cachan miles from the city, did I realize what exactly made Paris so heart-palpitatingly beautiful and at the same time be able to pluck at my heart strings so cruelly.
At one in the morning the Metro was completely devoid of life, save for the occasional drunkard and the panicking group of 30 plus teenage American tourists stuck in a foreign city trying to figure out the unfamiliar Parisian Metro system.
Once we were able to navigate ourselves to the correct B line and got on, I sat myself by the windows. Gazing out at the platforms I caught the eye of an adorable Parisian boy. He smiled at me with his half dimple, I noticed “The Catcher In The Rye” in his hands, and one skipped heart beat later I was traveling 50 miles per hour down the tracks pondering at the ache in my chest.
That cute boy with his half dimple summed up all of what I really wanted Paris to be. I had little connection to my tour group. It was a wayward group put together by EF Tours consisting of teachers, acquaintances, and strangers from my high school, but we shared little interests.Throughout my entire trip I was in awe and inspired in solitude. All those glances thrown towards strangers standing beside me in the Louvre were desperate cries to connect with someone over Vermeer, meet eyes with someone reading the same thing I was reading, feeling the same thing I was feeling. The reason why Paris is a city for artists is because there’s nothing more inspiring than heartbreak and loneliness. Paris made me realize how traveling even to the most beautiful city in the world means nothing without sharing it with meaningful people.
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