Paris: The City of Lights

What must I write about a city that is in all likelihood one of the most written about cities in the world? What further must I write about the city that Ernest Hemingway had immortalized in his ‘A Moveable Feast’? What more can I write about a city that has inspired, and continues to inspire, poets, authors, artists, sculptors through ages? Should I capture the essence of love that this city has accentuated by adding subtle and happy nuances to the very definition of love? Should I liken myself to the jolly picnicker gazing out at the turquoise waters of the gently flowing Seine, who then smiles to herself at the awestruck men and women being ferried across the bosom of the river on the several blue and white boats? Should I liken my joy to that of a lone walker lost in the lively streets of the city, shaded by trees, lined by the sandy hued rectangular buildings and cathedrals, intricately carved, spread across the city as it grows spirally outwards along the several arrondisements?

Or should I narrate to you the account of a nine year old who had fallen in love with the city after chancing upon a picture of the Louvre on a calendar? The picture of a golden pyramid against the backdrop of a majestic architecture, the name in Italics underneath that picture, a name that he mumbled to himself-Paris. Smiling proudly to his siblings who agreed that the picture splashed across the page of his birth month on the calendar was indeed the best, he began harbouring the dream of Paris. And about two decades later when he did see the magical golden pyramid shining, glittering before his eyes, he knew that dreams do come true!

wp-1586511928276.jpg

Call me silly, call me naïf but Paris was a city that I kept dreaming of, virtually navigating through the several streets inside my head, losing myself to the magnanimity and the beauty! Devouring every work of literature I could possibly lay my hands on, watching every film that were filmed in the City of Lights, from the larger than life, ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, the enchanting ‘Midnight in Paris’ or the serene ‘Before Sunset’ I am unapologetically obsessed with Paris. I am accused of having my face light up, my eyes glitter every single time Paris is mentioned! Moreover, the hopeless romantic in me always imagined Paris is a city that I would discover with my special one, so much so that I surreptitiously planned a holiday when Cupid struck my silly little heart, only to watch, later, the reverie crash soundlessly. Nevertheless, it took a broken and wounded heart, a mind encapsulated in layers of frenzy to take the giant leap and set forth for Paris alone! (‘Queen’ much, my friends joked, a film about self-discovery where the protagonist decides to venture out alone on her honeymoon when the to-be-groom calls off their wedding!)

But the magic of Paris unfolded to me the secret that I were my special one all along. Paris was my dream and sharing it with anybody who was not me would be a grave sin!

With a sparkle in my eyes, my A1 level confidence in French and the uncontrollable urge to devour pain au chocolat and croissants I found myself in my favourite city in the entire world last August! Oh, the sights I have seen, and the grin with which I walked across Paris still makes me joyous and I smile without warning much to the amazement of any hapless stranger looking at me with absolute wonder! I am not a bit ashamed to narrate that I cried like a baby when I saw the Tour Eiffel, majestic and grand, rising before me, for the first time.

wp-1586543211640.jpg

I wandered through the empty galleries of Louvre sitting with painters who dexterously captured the nuances and intricate details of the several marble sculptures on their art books while I fell passionately in love with the chiselled wonders.

wp-1586511930011.jpg

wp-1586511929066.jpg

I walked along the Seine, immersing and submitting to the sights and sounds of Paris.

wp-1586514413938.jpg

I prayed at the several cathedrals, the sound of silence and serenity therein, rushing through every vein, every atom.

wp-1586511928025.jpg

I wandered on paths trodden and paths where the autumn leaves had gathered, rustling when my happy feet crunched their crispness. I was the sole wanderer by lonely creeks watching the trees reflecting themselves perfectly upon the hooker’s green slow moving water, brown leaves and twigs floating in ecstasy.

wp-1586586083826.jpg

I treated myself to tarte aux fraises, picking out the sweet-sour strawberries one at a time before digging into the creamy richness!

wp-1586586709432.jpg

I crossed several bridges, a book in hand, sat on the several benches on the boulevards listening to ‘Lover’, which Taylor Swift (a Swiftie that I am) had coincidentally released on the same day when I had reached Paris; and much like an amorous lover I serenaded to the city, ‘You are my, my, my, my Lover’! I rambled through the alleys of Père Lachaise, reading the names on the elaborate gravestones, listening to an enigmatic breeze, rushing between the tombs, narrating to me the story of the nobles, the valiant men and women, authors, musicians resting their weary souls forever in the sweet earth of Père Lachaise.

wp-1586514414203.jpg

I solemnly witnessed the sky turn pink, the distant Tour Eiffel, glittering gold, towering above trees, at Place de la Concorde and a devilish temptation took over me, much like Andrea Sachs who had dropped her phone one of the Fontaines de la Concorde, to throw something inside the rushing water!

wp-1586513897325.jpg

A phone was too precious to let to go, hence I chose to drown segments of bad memories therein, smiling to myself, the smile of a cleansed soul, saluting the indigo sky!

wp-1586511929561.jpg

It has been more than six months since my rêve de Paris but I can distinctly hear the cathedral bells chiming, echo of metallic sounds in the air. I can hear laughter, banter, and the splash of boats mooring on the banks of the Seine. I can hear the flip of pages inside book stores, the wispy sound of journals folding at the little cafés complementing the grating sound of chairs upon the cobbled pavements; I can hear the clang of silvery balls that the happy men rolled in an indulging game of Boules. I still see the manicured gardens, the little ponds and the innumerable museums proudly displaying their jewels.

wp-1586513897268.jpg

I can smell the captivating smell of une petite tasse de café, the buttery smell of croissants and I still taste the lingering bitter sweet taste of un verre de jus d’orange. A kaleidoscope of memories, emerge and re-emerge, while myriad twinkling pink-purple lights, warm yellow reflections on the Seine light up the corners of my mind, the enchantment of the magical city of Paris, the City of Lights.

89 thoughts on “Paris: The City of Lights

Add yours

    1. I can completely understand. I had always desired to go to Paris but I did go to les petites villes d’Alsace. Ils étaient magnifiques. 🙂 I cannot wait to discover the smaller and lesser known places of France.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sartenada 🙂 Paris is my favourite city in the entire world and the experiences and sights and sounds of the city are magnifique. I cannot wait to be back at Paris again. Bonne journée 🙂

      Like

  1. One cannot read this post without knowing you love, love, love Paris. I enjoyed your excitement and photos tremendously. In my opinion I think you probably have enough photos and experiences to share for a three or four part Paris series – one on art, one on buildings, one on food, one on unexpected moments. You are a talented writer. – thank you for sharing, and I think now I must see Paris. – sincere best wishes, David

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I am obsessed with Paris and yes I have so many pictures of the city and the Alsace region. You must go to Paris and witness the magic when things get better and to this the pause now will make it all the more magical. There are certain cities, however cliched, that I love and love to let the city absorb me in her cacophony while I derive all the happiness. Paris being one and New York City is another 🙂 Thank you so much David for the wonderful words. 🙂

      Like

  2. How wonderful it must have been…a totally selfish time taking Paris all for yourself and now relishing these memories both for your own benefit and ours! Thanks Parikhit, you brought me back to Paris and my love of all things French despite my basic grasp of it’s language.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I get handed a calendar, the first thing I always do is to check the picture for the month of April. I think most of us are similar that way.

    I do remember you being in love with Paris. But this intensity is not what I expected. I’m glad you lived up to your dream and I hope that you do get to settle there someday.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Good that you were able to visit the place of your dreams before the Covid gloom crept in, and now when you go there once again am sure the feeling would be different. Something will be different, we just don’t know what yet. And, I could so relate to “face light up, my eyes glitter every single time Paris….” that’s exactly what I have stated in so many of my posts as “face light up, my eyes glitter every single time Himalayas….” 😀

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I think I was rather lucky! Yes things will be different, I have a feeling good different. Oh I get you with the Himalayan dream. I keep escaping to the Himalayas every year and sadly this April my trek had to be cancelled. Sigh. Soon I tell myself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I see….haven’t been to Chandrashila yet. Was in my list though but heard it’s gotten crowded now and that is dampening my interest a bit. Last year at this time I was in North Sikkim. Not a trek but Himalayas and even stayed with the Lepchas in a remote village for 2 days with some majestic views of Mt. Kangchenjunga. My Sikkim trip has been extraordinary, more so for the people I met there.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Paris was built for people like you (and me!) I so enjoyed your post! I planned to spend my 60th birthday there, but things ‘got in the way’. Now your post has inspired me to do it this year (I was last there in my twenties – and, strangely, I live in France!)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. You live in France! Je suis très jaloux 😀 I wish to move there someday, I sense an unexplained connection with La France! Paris would have changed and wouldn’t have when you visit again. It is a magical city 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for painting such a realistic picture of Paris. I have been there twice but only for 2-3 days both times which was not long enough. I long to get back there again, it’s on the bucket list, miracles do happen.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. wow you really showed me a Paris I didn’t know … certainly wasn’t my experience 🙂 But your photos and fascination shine through making me think I missed something …

    Particularly liked “hence I chose to drown segments of bad memories therein, smiling to myself, the smile of a cleansed soul, saluting the indigo sky!” … such a powerful way to to purge.

    I grew up with two such fascinations … Venice and the Taj. The former appeared like a stinking sewer where the later exceeded all my expectations filling me with the wonder and love you have for Paris. Must have ignited my passion for India 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I was afraid that Paris wouldn’t live up to my expectations for I had read so much and dreamt so much and read stories about mugging, with friends sending me YouTube links on the mugging and crazy crowd. And then I reflected I am from India why should I be scared of mugging 😀 But given the stories I didn’t let the stories taint the expectations and what I saw was beyond anything I had imagined. Perhaps you should visit again 😀

      I bet Venice will be a rejuvenated now and thankfully the yellow will fade to some extent around the Taj. Nature is cleansing everything 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Have visited Paris several times and still not impressed. Would never venture to Venice again … and we are told there will be no further travel this year.
        And joyfully I am content to stay put 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Parikhit, what a beautiful journey. You express your love and fascination so well. I can ‘feel’ the excitement and eagerness as you experience the sites and sounds and tastes. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 6 people

  9. How you wrote about Paris had my heart singing, as my eyes greedily read on and on. Oh Paris! How lucky you are to have gone to this wondrous city! Your passion for this city is so great the idea came to me as I relished every morsel within your words, asking you, is there any way you could move and actually live in this city? Could you imagine what you may discover then about yourself and about this city? To have such a love as this as you do and not be within that love, to me would be devastating. I say go after your dream in such a way that it is continuous, not just for a trip. OH how I loved reading this! Your pictures had me sitting forward in my seat wanting to crawl into each one. Loved loved loved this!! As for you as a writer! What a Gift you have!!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful words 🙂 In fact I do want to move there some day and spend my days breathing the city and discovering the many wonders. I am fascinated by France in general, the language, the culture the happy pace of life there 🙂 And like you wrote, I do want to live the dream as a continuity and not just a holiday. Thank you again for the encouragement 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Gorgeous, thank you for allowing me to tag along, my sweet Pari, your open heart and discerning eyes bring the soulof Paris into my heart and understanding. Sending blessings of love and joy your way *children dancing**sunbeams through clouds**rippling water at sunset*

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It was beyond what I had imagined it would be like. Everyone warned me it will be crowded, that the French keep to themselves and tend to be snobbish! Believe me in my experience it was all untrue. I was helped by the locals in ways more than one, so much so that I have a little collection of souvenirs that they gave me in Paris and across the other cities that I had travelled to. I have always believed that we are always treated the way we treat others and with my wonderful experience I would like to tell everyone how wonderful are the French, always greeting and helping you. 🙂 That added to my enriching experience and I fell harder in love with Paris 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Paris, oh how I understand your dreams of seeing a place. I have many places that I long to see. Yet I wonder how different things will be once the virus has finally passed. Thank you for sharing your journey and though I am also a hopeless romantic, I have learned that sometimes such journeys are best alone. Yet now that you have been once you find your love, taking her there and letting her have the same experience while you quietly watch will bring a whole new bond with the city. Your writing as beautiful as the city itself. I pray that you get to return to your beloved city soon.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so much Dee! 🙂 Yes, dreams come true in mysterious ways and I am so glad that you found some happiness in my journey! I keep thinking how different the world will be once the pandemic ends but I want to believe it will be good different. I hope and pray you get to chase your dreams soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You brought Paris to life! Such an inspiring journey, from a little boy who almost prophetically is enchanted by a picture to visualising the city as though there is a deeper connection between him and the city (which, spoiler alert, there is!), to the final journey- a pilgrimage of sorts – and that cathartic release of tears and emotion, so beautifully crafted in the line ‘But the magic of Paris unfolded to me the secret that I were my special one all along’…this was magnificent to read. Dreams do come true; manifestations are real and your post expounded this and how! Take a bow, Parikhit, this was absolutely marvellous!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Believe me Isha, it was nothing less than magic unfolding before my eyes. I know I am madly obsessed about Paris, so much so that I keep telling that I wouldn’t mind if I were to be killed the moment I reach Paris. I sense some strange unexplained connection with the city of Paris. And yes dreams do come true, we only need to vehemently believe in our dreams and work along with life to grab that dream and make it our reality!
      Thank you so much for your wonderful words 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. wouldn’t mind dying in the city – now that is dramatic, yet the hopeless romantic in me applauds, appreciates and feels that. I absolutely know that feeling when certain places/countries have the tendency to make one nostalgic and feel like one belongs there.
        Perhaps you lived a past life in Paris? Have you read Many lives, many masters by Dr Brian Weiss? If you haven’t I strongly recommend it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Believe me I had the same thoughts. Made a list from the collection I have, grinning to myself that I’ll read 20 books and have managed to finish just 3 given work and all the chores. 😀 So I am keeping my hopes pinned on the second lockdown!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: