I arrived in Paris by train. Greeted by graffiti bricks and a sun strong enough to dry out my damp soul. I had spent the past week in cloudy London surrounded by grand cathedrals and gardens fit for a fairy with Shakespeare’s sonnets flooding the lilac air. Before that, encircled on all sides by cawing seagulls in the Welsh countryside, climbing around a falling rubble of a castle, stumbling down steps and beaming at friends. Before even that, I was in the green soaked fields of Ireland where ancient castles are more abundant than people. Paris was different though. The city was alive, a beating pulse of music and art.
I walked down cobbled streets with winding roads twisting and turning into courtyards littered with greenery, everything touched with romance. Not just the romance of love but the romance that comes with a beautiful piece of art. The romance that comes with rosy cheeks and a smile. The romance of a city alive with beauty. We passed by a florist with petals sprawled around a metal table, the colors as vibrant and alive as the smell floating out of the shop.
Finally, after stopping for crepes from a tiny whole in the wall shop we made it to our destination the Musee d’Orsay. The building used to be an old train station, evident in the vaulted ceilings and the intricate gold clock on the wall. The top floor of this art museum is quite literally the most exquisite place in all of Paris. A giant window overlooks the Parisian city, with the Seine river sparkling down below. You can see the amber and faded rose buildings rising in the distance with people bustling on with their lives. That isn’t what makes it the most beautiful part of Paris though, not by a long shot. The room is filled with French Impressionist paintings, with the likes of Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, and Manet. Pastel colors bombarding you in the face with portraits of life and beauty. It is absolutely breathtaking. I spent probably two hours on that floor alone, staring at some of the best artwork in the world.
Leaving that room was hard, but I had to for there was more art to be seen. That is where I captured the photo of Paris. A man was on a bench near one of the many marble statues scattered throughout the bottom floor of the museum, but I noticed something peculiar about the scene. The statue and this man were identical- not in the literal sense but emotionally the same. The parallels between this man on a bench and an ancient statue- the slumped shoulders and hanging head- both perfectly captured in each other in breathtaking symmetry. It was then I understood why Paris felt alive with art and music. Paris as a city truly reflects the arts. From the rose petals littering the pavement near a florist to the old train station turned into an art museum, here in this city life completely imitated art. This man sitting on a bench lead me to this realization that here art isn’t just a painting on a wall but the world around you. Every beating pulse, every seagull in the air, every sparkle of the river and every word spoken is art. I walked out of the museum to hear a violinist playing on the streets and I was reminded of that pair of slumped shoulders and hanging heads, that is what Paris truly is, a beating pulse of music and art- the city of love.
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