Could I ever be friends with someone who doesn’t like Paris? How could you not like Paris?! Are you OK?, I’d be asking myself on the inside and you could definitely see a big exclamation mark on the outside. Paris has that something that one has to discover by oneself some time if not the first time. We know anything is possible. There will be a time, though, when one will find. Not out the beauty of the city (that was conspicuous), but the light. Finally! His, her, theirs.
Paris is romance in its most pure form, I now come to understand. It’s romance in so many ways, that for someone running as far away as possible from their romantic ways, Paris can become too much for someone to be able to come. Paris can become a mirror for some.
This word play.
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 raised your eyebrows so high that you started to tickle the clouds with them. So maybe you just like the rain, but guess what. Rain can be so romantic… And this is how we all hide some romance within ourselves. It is said that we’re all looking for love. Wishing for love, in fact. And I don’t only mean the classic half, although after self love and the love for love, the classic love is shared ideal.
Oh, come on.
Sharing food for French – according to Geraldine below – 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 dream about and get the chance to adore in Paris. Wherever, bien sûr, but the smell of good bread and warm croissants all over the city as in Paris I have never elsewhere experienced but home, home when I was a child. Not to mention 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 to not sense it when walking in Paris and not think of home even just for one second.
Walking in Paris, in April, admiring the sky above the Jardin des Tuileries while eating a croissant or a pancake on the way home with a bottle of red wine (in your bag) to drink in the evening with a loved one feels like home.
And maybe, right now, you are not romantic. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be romantic, it takes a doze of naivety that makes you get on the biggest roller coaster there is. And lose control for a bit (though, in my opinion, it is precisely then that you find it), only to feel the warm adrenaline running through your veins and strengthening your trust.
Romance seems to be something we are all born with and we can all, further on, place in everything we do throughout life. In everything we wear, because romance is style. Regardless of genre, style happens the moment you see yourself in the mirror, in a film, in a book, in an evening or morning, in a song, in a man.
Paris is as romantic as Nietzsche’s quote is: Life without music would be a mistake.
Please don’t just listen to it in the background while at home on a sunny Saturday breakfast, but in the car (or in your headphones on the subway), with the volume up when it’s raining outside and it’s April.
Oh, how romantic the summer evenings Alex used to teach me French through Mylène Farmer’s lyrics were. Until the coffee shops closed down at night, haha!
The French language only completes 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 is, it’s warm. Even the news and the news anchors on France 24 are warm, regardless of the subject.
Since we’re at music, a French artist I have been following at home and listening to with friends at our parties for some time now is Christine and the Queens.
About friends, 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 (they are cool as in cool, they are not though cool as in cold) if they say it. And there comes a day and they tell me about a city, a film, a book, an evening or a morning, a song, a man. And my smile can’t hide. It doesn’t want to! My arms, without any prior approval, head towards them for big embrace. Of joy! And not necessarily for him or her, or me, but for the champagne flutes clinking somewhere between the clouds. Held by the sun rays or something. Ok, ok. Jesus! Jk.
Some clinking happened between our ears, also, whilst in the Notre-Dame, for a concert like I had never heard or been to before on a Sunday evening.
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 toilet entrance at Notre-Dame is 2 Euros, but – hey – you’re being pthotographed while you do the pee-pee. Before or after, let’s suppose. There’s a coffeeshop in Montmartre called Coffee, Pee-pee and Me where you make your own coffee and you pay 2 Euros to go to do the pee-pee. One can tell the level a country’s at by its toilets also and yes, subway sometimes smells of pee, but it’s not about how perfect Paris is here, because it’s not. A romantic wouldn’t be looking for perfection anyway, perfection happens in moments of grace. And maybe pee-pee and grace are two words not expected to be found in the same phrase, but are as natural.
The smell of blooming trees in Paris in April…
Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world – according to Wikipedia – but it is expensive without being pretentious. Paris cares about its allure, about everything Paris is cognisant of representing. It’s the setting for millions of films and I don’t mean cinema. It’s rich without shouting it out loud. It’s clean when observing both the sneakers or shoes people wear in the streets or on the subway and the lives in them. When observing the frankness. 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; maybe the reason behind the fashion style in Paris. The fashion style wherever. It’s not about a certain rule or unanimity, it’s about authenticity. It could be in your pair of Converse while stroking the foot you’ve just cuffed your pants up to your knee on, having your coffee and croissant and thinking of your day, everything at once in the morning sun. It could be in a pink skirt with pink roses, heels, with your favourite bag rushing to work. It could be a white collared black leather jacket and black jeans over the espresso at a small-small table outside, at the corner restaurant. It could be anything as long as the thing is you.
Women (and men) with a flow in the morning, with an underestimated joie de vivre, a certain joie de vivre about their own world, the world they like first, their OZ. In Paris.
The style French have doesn’t (fundamentally) depend on the hour, place or occasion in their day-to-day-to-night life. They remain loyal to their style and adapt it on the go. Easy, free, elegant. An elegance coming from the inside.
Because it’s not ever about the clothes only and clothes are so much more than just clothes.
To be able to observe the style in real life in Paris, not only on tv, on Netflix, in the Dix Pour Cent (Call My Agent) French show is as lovely as spreading the butter (and a bit of plums gem) on the bread while having black tea or coffee in the morning. I let its episodes play (replay) in the background for its glittery energy while I work or almost anything I do, in fact.
In Paris, the ideal company is one that walks with you at least 16 km a day from morning, with beautiful stops for coffee and croissants at Cafe Francoeur (in Montmartre) towards Le Bon Marché through Jardin des Tuilleres, after admiring Louvre from afar, another stop at Le Saint-Germain before Bon Marché. One you could share white wine and tea at the corner resto with, a pain au chocolat in between, stands still for two hours in Jardin du Luxembourg with you until the park closes at 8 (at dawn, the park closes, yes) and walks back to Place St. Michel, where skaters dance and sing in the sunset’s light, under the vanilla sky. One you could sit on Pont Neuf and talk about the universe with at the end of the day.
After having just arrived in Paris the night before and walked with a crêpe to Sacré-Cœur.
The next morning, we head to one store – after croissants from the 1 minute away boulangerie and coffee in bed – and get to another, yet both (Elena and myself) find the pair of black Nikes we’d both been looking for for years. They were even better than we’d imagined them to be. Starving, we eat a mini burger at a restaurant in our neighbourhood, at small tables outside, in the Spring sun, on Rue Joseph de Maistre. The restaurant seemed more of locals than of tourists. At hotel, we eat a Paris-Breast with espresso, because – hey – it’s the traditional desert. We change and run on the subway to get to Hôtel du Duc, the location of the Vogue Paris conference, just near to Opera Garnier, through Boulevard des Italiens. I tell Elena about a nice guy I once met and is now a chef at Ibrik and we go there. He’s not there anymore, but we have red wine and some delicious appetisers.
Only to start the third morning with La Vie en Rose (after having croissants and coffee on the go) sung in the streets surrounding Sacré-Cœur and just chill on the hill (the highest in Paris), grab (again) something juicy (a crêpe for myself again, the best one just down the hill). We then take the Big Bus to hop on and off through all of Paris, see REX (the biggest cinema in Europe) on Boulevard Poissonnière. We toast some rosé on a bench, just near Tour Eiffel on a Sunday splendid afternoon before heading to Notre-Dame and 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. We eat some Chinese (Elena’s favourite dish) and go back to Tour Eiffel to jump under at 10.30 at night until the lights go off. The lights on “The Iron Lady” which, actually, feels like silk to me.
A company you have the freedom to separate from for an unplanned, yet so pleasant meeting on a Monday Spring morning at Café Beaubourg with a view to Pompidou. A company you are glad to reunite with only to delight together in Centre Georges Pompidou and look forward to come back with to L’atelier Brâncuși just near Pompidou. A chocolate crêpe through Marais and the wonderful clouds back to Sacre-Cœur make the hotel check-out easier.
Oh, ouais, and stay with that ideal company in Montmartre.
Whether it was Montmartre, or Marais, or Saint-Germain, just near the Grand Palais or Champs-Elysées, the buildings people leave and work in in Paris… I just know I love to look at them and not loose myself each time I come to Paris. The eyes are relaxed, inspiration flows, calm settles in.
Just in time for me to play with Tour Eiffel on every corner or street when I see it and I smile. It feels like playing hide and seek with Inga and Natasha. It feels like Christmas every day and the 324 m tree lights up each night and the home is Paris.
I only took favourite things to wear with me to Paris. My closet, lately, started to be filled with favourite things only. Pfew! In Paris (just as at home), I mixed the clothes so much that two other “outfits” made at home just an hour before flying off to Paris never even left the hotel’s closet, but I sure did carry them in my 11 kg carry-on on the subway. We wanted to have the whole Parisian experience with RER B, the most efficient means of transport from and to the Charles de Gaulle airport. Moreover, the funny jokes with the flight attendees at Air France only sweetened the (already sweet) tiredness of the road back.
The meaning of it all is for each and every one of us to find it out on ourselves. About romance, about life. Regardless of genre, the meaning happens the moment you look at yourself in the mirror, in a city, in a film, in a book, in an evening or a morning, in a song, in a man and you see yourself. The most beautiful meaning happens in the most beautiful light.
Romance is truth and truth is always sexy, because truth is love. And forever.
Apple or Nike or Ray-Ban and so many other seem so romantic to me and they’re not French. I see romance in my ever growing fun, cool and most truest relationship with my brother, in Pharrell Williams’ Gust Of Wind. In my Written Press’ (back in TV School) professor’s attitude, Ferenc Vasas or Miss Dacian’s back in primary school. Honey! The way the bees fly from flower to flower and make the honey which ends up in jars and in ourselves afterwards. Solange’s Stay Flo. Romance is in the smiles and beautiful contradictory talks in the family, in my father’s fate and the talks with dad in his car. In Coldplay’s Hymn For The Weekend, in a coffee with something good at any time of day with mom, going to good movies since childhood with mom, in the exquisite dress my mom used to wear 20 years ago I now wear, in Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collections, in laying on the beach with any of my two close Elenas in May or August, in Adrian Oianu’s Not Cool 2010 fashion show, 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 ourselves and, in fact, find ourselves. The list continues for each of us, because 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 also and enjoy it to the fullest in Paris ❣️