Paris je t’aime…It’s been over a decade since I left Paris and I was not sure how I would feel when I decided to go back last week for a 3-day trip. Paris was the place where I grew up as a teenager and a university student, a time of insouciance combined with emotional turmoil, a time when your priorities in life are different. Life in Paris was clearly passing me by and when l swapped the City of Light for London, there was no pain, no resentment, no nostalgia.
The title of this blog may seem a little trite but for me, there was a deeper meaning to be found. “Paris Je t’aime” is that delightful assortment of short films which take place in different arrondissements of Paris. While in my opinion “Amélie” portrayed a charming yet somewhat unrealistic image of an Idyllic Paris, there was a poignant sincerity and beauty in some of the short movies of “Paris je t’aime” which made me reconsider my perception of the French capital.
It also made me realise that over the years, unable to express a clear emotional response related to my previous life in Paris, I let other people’s expectations alter my own perception of the city. Aren’t Parisian women so impossibly chic? Aren’t waiters in Paris the rudest in the world? Aren’t important life matters discussed in trendy cafés while sipping wine and puffing on cigarettes?
Sometimes we just set the bar too high I guess but all my questions and expectations vanished as soon as I alighted the Eurostar in Gare du Nord. During the course of these three days, Paris dazzled me and conquered my heart. No rude waiters in sight, a beautiful hotel room, everyone I met was lovely, smiling, warm and welcoming …finally I was able to ignite an emotional response with Paris. I felt inspired, I took many pictures, there was no negativity. London is still home for me but that trip had the power of healing old wounds and opened my eyes to a new side of Paris. I can’t wait to explore it further on my next trip…