It’s over. Come and gone and I’m in love. With a city.
Have you ever gone somewhere and the hype was so great that you were disappointed? That was not Paris. Have you ever gone somewhere and even though the hype was great it didn’t compare with the experience? THAT was Paris.
Granted my exposure to Europe is fairly minimal. When we were in Barcelona a couple of years ago I was struck by just how young Canada is. This was even more apparent to me in Paris.
A million years ago I did a minor in French in university. I got to read Sartre, Victor Hugo, Chateaubriand, Balzac, more Balzac,Rousseau, Maupassant, Gide, Cocteau, Zola and on and on – though never Proust.
Then there’s the art. You know the names. We all know the names. We know the paintings too. Without even realizing it we know the paintings.
History; The Revolution, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, Napoleon and Josephine.
And for my husband, the boulangeries, especially the baguettes.
All of this swirls through the air. A palpable vibrancy that is Paris.
We walked through the Luxembourg Gardens. Even though spring had not really arrived the beauty there was apparent. I stopped to read the information on the palace. Interesting. Hmmm. It was used as the headquarters for the Luftwaffe. Ah yes, that side of France. That’s always there too, isn’t it? As much as I would like to forget about it I just can’t.
The Jewish museum had a little photography exhibit. Photos and blurbs on Parisian Jews. You know what was interesting? A few of the people said they were French first and Jews second (if that).
Funny how easy it is to forget history even in a city where history seems to flow over you like water flowing along the Seine.