When I was little, my parents used to take me on many trips abroad because they thought that was the only way to prevent me from being prejudiced and/or narrow-minded: they wanted me to see the world, to know that the reality we live in is just one of the several realities out there. And thanks to them I did see a lot of amazing new things, but these trips were always kinda short and touristy. In some way, to me they always felt like we were just checking a name off of some to-do list and we never really had the chance – or enough time – to breathe in local traditions, customs or practices. I have great memories, but the kind that a child at a giant funfair would have.
Paris was different. The first time I visited this beautiful city, I was a teenager thirsty for knowledge and trying to see the world from a different perspective. As soon as I set foot in Paris, its history, art, architecture, allure and lifestyle hit me so hard I could have believed I was hit by an actual truck.
Paris taught me how to enjoy different cultures and how to broaden my horizons. Paris showed me the way to express my true colors, my truest self and my unfiltered creativity as I please. Paris let me taste the best pastries I’ve ever had and proved me that beauty can really save us and the whole world. Well, it also made me realize the importance of compromise (and, believe me, it is super hard for an Italian to give up on the bidet. I’m not kidding) in exchange for your own personal freedom.
I’ve tried so many times to write about Paris, but whenever I do (even now) words just fail me. That’s why I’d love to quote someone with more authority than me when it comes to literature, Honoré de Balzac:
Mais Paris est un véritable océan. Jetez-y la sonde, vous n’en connaîtrez jamais la profondeur. Parcourez-le, décrivez-le: quelque soin que vous mettiez à le parcourir, à le décrire; quelques nombreux et intéressés que soient les explorateurs de cette mer, il s’y rencontrera toujours un lieu vierge, un antre inconnu, des fleurs, des perles, des monstres, quelque chose d’inouï, oublié par les plongeurs littéraires.
My translation: But Paris is an ocean indeed. You can thrown a probe into it, but you will never be able to measure its depths. Stroll its streets, describe it: do it carefully; it doesn’t matter how numerous and curious the explorers of the sea are, one will always encounter a virgin place, an unknown alley, flowers, pearls, monsters, something unheard of, forgotten by the literary divers.
Pictures of myself: @jiminphoto – I took the other pics.