Each and every year, my family sets off on a trip to Paris, France: the City of Love. It is my absolute favorite place in the worl,d and I love it more than any place else. However, I don’t love Paris because it is beautiful. It is beautiful, of course, but that is not the reason I love it.
2014 FTF and NEW YORK TRAVEL WRITERS ASSOCIATION TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
I love the eccentricity of the apartments I briefly inhabit whenever I am there, the narrow and squeaky staircases, the small elevators in the stair-wells, and the super-thin walls that prevent the exchange of words between my family and I in our room after 8 pm in fear of our neighbors and their incessant complaining.
I love the waiters and waitresses who skillfully flirt their way into an extra 10 euros on the bill.
I love the clickitty-clack of my heels as I trot upon the cobblestone streets, and the richness of Paris’s history – from the guillotining of Marie Antoinette, to the grand extent of Napoleon’s kingdom and reign, to the star-crossed lovers known as Abelard and Heloise whose tragic love story inspired authors and playwrights for years to come.
I love the mysteriousness of Notre Dame’s bell tower, which can only be reached by an extremely long and spiraling staircase that I imagine could reach all the way up to the skies, into the heavens.
I love strolling upon the banks of the Seine and delving through the piles and piles of aged books from the street sellers who are always so desperate to sell their goods.
I love the Eiffel Tower at night, when she emanates her glittering regality all over the city and holds her place high upon the skyscape.
I love how I can feel love in the air as I sip sparkling cider to celebrate our ascension to her very top.
I love the speed of life in Paris because nobody rushes, really, but somehow everything gets done efficiently, the fact that the waiters and waitresses never need to write down an order but recall every little detail of your order and food is served quick but with ease.
I do not love the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. I am in love, with the rows and rows of beautiful vintage books, a typewriter to write poems, old divans, wooden beams, creaky floorboards, an hundred-year-old piano, and just…it is all so charming.
I love that everything there stimulates creativity.
I love the piano that’s always being keyed by a boy, a poet of seventeen and of long blond hair and tawny eyes whose snark knows no bounds (and I suppose it’s only in Paris where you meet somebody so purely genius to be improvising and amalgamating works of Beethoven and Chopin solely by ear; he cannot read music).?
I love knowing that there is really no work that needs to be completed, that all I must to do is wait and see where the day takes me, to see how Paris unravels before my eyes. Still, everybody drives at breakneck speed (note: with courteousness) and it all just flows into perfection, like clear water pouring into a cup.
I do not love Paris because of its own chronicles; I love it because of my own.
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