“Parisian life is rich in miraculous and poetic subjects. The miraculous envelops us and waters us like the atmosphere, but we do not see it.” Baudelaire
Paris is the brother of London, or its more glamourous cousin at the very least. They are expensive, cultured cities filled with unhappy, hurried people. Hubs of art and literature, centres of government and commerce, irresistible magnets for the artistic, the ambitious, and the insane.
Paris is the more beautiful by far. All the tourists and tat shops in the world can’t detract from Montmatre and the Sacre Coeur, and a walk along the banks of the Seine, especially around the Ile de France, reveals spectacular beauty after spectacular beauty – even the most humble of streets seems sculpted to perfection.
The city as a whole seems designed to catch the light, especially the soft light of spring and gentle electric glow that fills the street at night. The city is a prism, an elegant trap for light – “the City of Light” lives up to its name.
Some memories, mostly of tranquil spaces…
Strolling the entire length of the Canal Saint-Martin at night, people dancing around CD players, practising capoeira, drinking and smoking beside the placid waters.
In the garden of the Rodin Museum, the interplay of muscles is caught in bronze, and a single instant of myth or emotion is frozen in time, trapping the perfect precision of a moment.
Napping contentedly in the Jardin Royal, feet propped on the fountain and a book splayed open on my chest.
The scholarly excitement in the upstairs rooms at Shakespeare and Co, where book lovers, aspiring writers, curious tourists and itinerant wanderers all peer surreptitiously over each others shoulders to see what everyone else is reading.
I am, in truth, a little in love with Paris.