Could I ever be friends with someone who doesn’t like Paris? And Beyoncé? Not or, but and. How could you not like Paris?! And Beyoncé?! Are you OK?, I’d be asking myself on the inside and you’d, definitely, be seeing a big exclamation mark on the outside. Paris has that something one has to discover by oneself. We know anything is possible, so a time will come for one to discover. The light. I couldn’t help myself. It’s the bite of the perfect croissant.
Paris is romance in its purest form. It’s romance in so many ways, so for someone running as far away as possible from their romantic ways, Paris can be too much. Paris can be a mirror.
The mirror effect a city, a film, a book, an evening or a morning, a song, a soul can have on someone is a sign of light and signs are so romantic! If you see them. By now, you’re either smiling and already see yourself in Paris or you’ve just raised your eyebrows so high that you start to tickle the clouds. Maybe you just like the rain, but guess what. Rain can be so romantic… In case you thought you’re just not that optimistic. Or romantic. Busted! We all want love, so relax. Love for love, self love and that ideal love you can’t wait to share.
Sharing food for French – according to Geraldine from Comme une Française – is about social life, not necessarily about feeding yourself. Food is sacred and the point of a meal is to have a good time with your friends and family. To be together – a thing you’re either used to from childhood or/and dream about and get the chance to adore in Paris. Wherever, bien sûr, but the smell of good bread and warm croissants all over Paris is something I have not come across with elsewhere but home, when I was a child. Or of the made-on-the-spot crêpes with jambom et fromage (and a variety of other salted things) or Nutella (and a variety of other sweet things) on almost every street.
The smell of good food, not (too) heavy or greasy, but tasty, not too dry, yet not too juicy, when you enter a home that feels like home… Oh. It’s inevitable not to sense it when walking through the city of lights or not to think about home, even if only for a second.
Walking in Paris, in April, admiring the sky above the Jardin des Tuileries while eating a croissant or pancake, on the way home, with a bottle of red wine (in your bag) for the evening with a loved one feels like home.
And maybe, right now, you’re not romantic. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be romantic, it takes a doze of naivety to get on the biggest roller coaster in the world. To find balance. I know, quite a combo. Lose control for a bit, only to feel the warm adrenaline running through your veins, strengthening your trust.
Romance seems to be something we are all born with and it’s our choice to sprinkle it everywhere throughout life. In everything we wear, because romance is style. Style shows up the moment you see yourself in the mirror, in a film, in a book, in one particular evening or morning, in a song, in a pair of eyes.
Paris is as romantic as Nietzsche’s quote: Life without music would be a mistake.
Please don’t just listen to it in the background, while at home on a sunny Saturday, while having breakfast, but in the car, or in your headphones, anyway you are, with the volume up, and it’s raining outside, and it’s April.
Oh, the summer evenings Alex used to teach me French by going through Mylène Farmer’s lyrics were so romantic. Until the coffee shops closed down at night, haha!
The French language is part of the essence of Paris. The tone is firm, yet warm, doesn’t (fundamentally) depend on the hour, place or occasion. It’s not as sexy (sexy in the best way) as Portuguese or Spanish, though, it’s warm. Even the news and the news anchors on France 24 are warm, regardless of the subject.
A French artist I’ve been listening to at home and with friends at our parties, for a while now, is Christine and the Queens.
I have friends who say, about them, that they are anything but romantic. I don’t believe them, but I don’t say anything. They think they’re cool or something if they say it. They are cool as in cool, but they are not cool as in cold. Or might they just need a little bit of warmth? And there comes a day and they tell me about a city, a film, a book, a particular evening or morning, a song, a pair of eyes. And my smile can’t hide. It doesn’t want to. My arms, with no prior warning or anything, head towards my friends for a big embrace. The joy! And not necessarily for him or her, or me, but for the champagne flutes clinking somewhere in the clouds. In the hands of the sun rays or something. Ok, ok. Jees! Jk.
Some clinking happened in our heads, too, whilst at a concert like my ears had never heard or been to before, on a Sunday evening, in the Notre-Dame. Resembling the Justice concert last summer, or U2 with my brother last fall.
Humour is romantic. So romantic! Romantic af romantic! Anyone can make you smile, many people can make you cry, but it takes someone really special to make you smile with tears in your eyes.
The subway might smell, at times, of pee-pee, but this is not about how perfect Paris is, because it’s not. A romantic isn’t looking for perfection, anyway. Perfection happens in the moments of grace. That escalated quickly. While pee-pee and grace might not be expected to be found in such proximity, the two are just as natural.
Anyone can make you smile, many people can make you cry, but it takes someone really special to make you smile with tears in your eyes.
The smell of blooming trees in Paris in April…
Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world, according to Wikipedia and even if it is, it’s not pretentious, too. Paris cares about its allure, about everything Paris is cognisant of representing. It’s the setting of millions of films and I don’t only mean cinema. It’s rich without shouting it out loud. It’s clean, although many say it is quite dirty, ooh, and the shoes people wear in the streets or on the subway tell the life they live. Frankness is one of the city’s je ne sais quois.
You see what you want to see, hear what you want to hear. It depends on how romantic you let yourself be. Free.
You can just feel it when something’s not honest here. You can just feel it wherever in the world, obviously, but in Paris, if you’re not honest with yourself first, you can just feel it. Might this be the connection to style in Paris? Style wherever. It’s not about a certain rule or unanimity, it’s about authenticity. You’re sitting on a chair outside, you have your Converse on, your legs are casually crossed, you stroke the naked patch of your shin with your hand, you know the position, having your coffee and a croissant and thinking about your day, everything at once, in the morning sun. Maybe a pink skirt is in the picture and some pink roses are in your favourite bag, your heels are on and you’re rushing to work. It could be a black leather jacket with a white collar and black jeans biking. It could be anything as long as the thing is you.
People with an invisible sparkling flow about them in the morning, with an underestimated joie de vivre, a certain joie de vivre about their own world, the world they like first, their Emerald City of Oz. In Paris.
The style French have doesn’t (fundamentally) depend on the hour, place or occasion in their day-to-night life. It’s a sort of loyalty and adaptability on the go. Easy, carefree, elegant. And elegance always comes from the inside.
It’s not ever about the clothes only and clothes are so much more than just clothes. Just as heels are more than just heels.
To be able to observe the style in real life Paris, not only on in the Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent) French show, is as lovely as spreading salted butter on the morsel of bread in your hand, adding a little bit of plum gem over black tea or coffee is. The episodes replay in the background (of my life) for its glittery energy only, when I’m working or almost anything I’m doing.
In Paris, the ideal company walks 16km a day with you. You two start with coffee and croissants at Cafe Francoeur (in Montmartre), head towards Le Bon Marché, through Jardin des Tuilleres, you can admire the Louvre from afar, pause at Le Saint-Germain just before entering the department store, have some white wine or tea, at the resto on the corner, afterwards. Some pain au chocolat in between. Stands still with you, for two hours, in Jardin du Luxembourg, the park closes at 8pm, fyi. Walks back home. Through Place St. Michel, where skaters dance and sing in the sunset light, under the vanilla sky. Sits on Pont Neuf and talks about the universe with you, at the end of the day. Sleeping in Paris has a sparkle attached to it, what can I say?
Oh, and on your arrival, just the night before, walks, with a crêpe in the hand, to Sacré-Cœur. With you.
The next morning, you have croissants, from the boulangerie downstairs, and coffee in bed, head to a store, but get to another one. It’s where you both find the pair of black Nikes you have both been looking for for years. They were even better than you’d imagined them to be. Starving, you eat a mini burger, at a local joint, on a tiny street, just near Montmartre, with small tables outside, the whole drill, in the spring sun. Have a Paris-Breast and espresso at the hotel. It’s the traditional French desert. Change and run to the subway to get to Hôtel du Duc, the location of the Vogue Paris conference, close to Palais Garnier, through Boulevard des Italiens. Have a nice conversation at the bar of a restaurant. You like eating at the bar.
The third morning comes with croissants and coffee on the go, with La Vie en Rose, literally, you see?, in the streets of Montmartre and you just chill on the hill of Sacré-Cœur (the highest in Paris), then grab (again) something juicy (a crêpe, for some, will just do anytime)(anytime, anytime) just down the hill. Take the Big Bus to hop on and off through all of Paris, see REX (the biggest cinema in Europe) on Boulevard Poissonnière on it. Toast some rosé on a bench, just near Tour Eiffel, on a Sunday splendid afternoon. Hop back on the Big Bus. To toast the same rosé (which is mos def not randomly called Joie de Vivre), at sunset, on Champs-Elysées. Have something good, good to eat and go back toTour Eiffel. Jump under it, when it lights up, at 10.30pm and don’t stop until the lights turn off. “The Iron Lady”, actually, feels like silk to me.
In Paris, a sort of unfolding is always in the air. It is everywhere, but in Paris you can go to Pompidou, have a coffee at Café Beaubourg and, still, absorb the whole idea of Centre Georges Pompidou, just in front of you. And to L’atelier Brâncuși, mamma mia, or mama mea. A chocolate crêpe through Marais, with wonderful clouds above your heads, is a walking picture.
Whether it’s Montmartre, or Saint-Germain, or Marais, at the Grand Palais or Champs-Elysées, the buildings people leave and work in in Paris… I just know I love to look at them, every time I’m in Paris. The eyes relax, inspiration flows, calm settles in.
Just in time for me to play with Tour Eiffel, on every corner or street, and smile when I see it. It feels like playing hide and seek with Inga and Natasha. It feels like Christmas here, every day. The 324m high tree lights up, every night. It feels like home and it’s Paris.
I only took favourite things to wear with me to Paris. Packing just ah hour before taking off to Paris helped and the closet at home, lately, started to be filled with favourite things only, yoo-hoo! I mixed them so much that there, still, were plenty of outfits for me to pull out left. Oh well.
RER B is the most efficient means of transport from and to the Charles de Gaulle airport is what they say.
Each and every one of us finds it out one day, one way or another. Romance, life. It’s when you look at yourself in the mirror, in a city, in a film, in a book, in a particular evening or morning, in a song, in a pair of eyes and you see yourself. In the most beautiful light.
I told you there’s something about style. Romance is truth and truth is always sexy, just like love is. Look in the mirror. Timeless.
Apple, Nike or Ray-Ban and so many other seem romantic to me and they’re not French. I see romance in the ever growing, fun, cool and real relationship with my brother, in Pharrell Williams’ Gust Of Wind. In the attitude of my Written Press professor, back in the TV Academy, in the attitude of the biology teacher, in primary school. In honey! The way bees fly from flower to flower and make the honey that ends up in jars and in our spoons always humbles me. So romantic! Solange’s Stay Flo. Romance is in the smiles, but contradictory conversations, too, inside the family. Is in my father’s fate and the talks with dad in his car. In Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend, in a coffee and a great snack at any time of the day with mom, in going to the movies with mom, in the exquisite dress my mom used to wear 20 years ago that I am, now, wearing, in Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collections, in laying on the beach with someone special, in the rain that seems to be starting, in the eyebrows that won’t let the rain come into our eyes, in Quentin Tarantino’s and Leonid Gaidai’s films, in Yuri Nikulin’s talent, in Mircea Eliade’s Maitreyi, in the dance we lose and find ourselves. The list continues with specific or super general things, different for each of us, or not, it doesn’t matter, romance doesn’t care about space, nationality, age, religion, gender, school etc.
Romance has that je ne sais quoi that the French are aware of and enjoy to the fullest, in Paris.
Pas mal, pas mal.