I really don't know when it began. Coming from one of the largest cities in America and being reminded daily that "there's no place like New York," you would think that I would be over the big-city craze already.
And though Paris is a large city, with what I imagine, all of the nuances of a big city, it is somehow different in my mind. The Champs Elysee, the Louvre, the Metro. I mean, there is just so much to Paris. In fact, some of our city trademarks were based on the Parisian originals; the Washington Arch in the Village being the first to come to mind.
Being a Native New Yorker, I have had to grow to learn to appreciate its beauty and uniqueness. It's been all I've known for so long. I've grown to love and hate and love again, its timelessness, its constant energy, its stark beauty, and the daily rush.
I imagine that Paris has that same energy, but I see it as having a more romantic, even elegant side. Yes, New York has Park Avenue and Central Park and Harlem and Brooklyn. But, it is not Paris.
I’d watched musicals and movies set in Paris such as An American In Paris and Gigi, but what really sealed it for me was an episode of one my favorite British comedies, As Time Goes By. On this one particular episode, the show’s main characters, Jean and Lionel, take a weekend trip to Paris. It is a rainy day when they arrive and they think that it will spoil their plans. In a brief scene, they show the couple strolling through the Champ de Mars , the park beneath the Eiffel Tower, arm in arm. It is raining and the camera zooms out to show them walking under a large red umbrella. They are enveloped in a crowd of couples and friends, all covered by umbrellas. The Eiffel Tower stands in the distance. Puddles form at their feet with the reflection of the Eiffel.
I thought to myself: Any place that could be that romantic and beautiful on a rainy day is a place that I need to be. A rainy day in New York is anything but romantic and a lot less impressive in my humble opinion.
And so my fascination with Paris began. Calendars, books, films, and documentaries, all followed. I can’t seem to get enough of Paris. I also own a set of three black and white framed photographs in my Harlem apartment that espouse that sentiment. I’m also fond of various other art photos, prints and paintings, but I have not purchased them yet.
Such is my passion for Paris that I’ve even suffered through a season of the Real World in Paris, disgusted by the lack of enthusiasm about my dream city, just to get a glimpse of what could be. I have not yet visited Paris, but I long to, and I do know that I will go there one day soon. The ultimate for me would be to live there for a period of time. I hope that it is everything that I dream and more.
Recently I told one of my English professors of my passion for Paris. She confirmed that it was and shared a little of her experience there. She said she was so impressed that she cried on the plane ride home---she didn’t want to leave! I imagine that I’ll be doing the same…
Until then and maybe even after, I’ll have a jones for Paris…