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Published: September 3rd 2012
Pearl Tower / Eiffel Tower
From one city of lights to the next! Shanghai to Paris. From modern light spectacles to historic illumination. From the Pearl Tower to the Eiffel Tower. Here I am. So what can I possibly write about Paris that hasn't already been spelled out in plain English, French, and every other language? Well, after spending two years in China, coming to France has me looking at everything from a different perspective. The two countries are like polar opposites, and because I've been deprived of luxuries such as Western dining, low noise-pollution, and Latin-based language, I believe it gives me a more naive and pure perspective of the place. So read along as I treat myself to all I've been deprived of over the last two years and possibly gain some insight on how to not overlook the small things in Paris that add just as much to its charm as the obvious aspects do.
Oh, cheese. Oh, sweet delectably tantalizing fromage! How I've missed you like a lover gone off to war and of all places to reunite with you: France. Each bite melts me into a puddle of bliss. Cantin, a quaint Fromagerie just off Rue Claire, recommended a few
... wine too!
...and also bread.
morsels for me to try. I'm not the biggest cheese connoisseur but I can differentiate good cheese from bad cheese from sensational cheese. My advice? Just eat a TON of it when you go to Paris. Eat it plain, eat it with crackers, eat it with FRENCH bread, have some fruit and drink some wine while you eat it. And repeat. Also, buy your butter at the fromagerie; you won't regret the purchase.
The people here are beautiful. Whether you're into men or women, i believe you wont disagree. There's a casual elegance that lingers in the air here, and it's not just reserved for the rich. I think it's also the ambiance, and maybe it's the good food too. I'm a firm believer that if you're happy, at peace, and have a good meal everyday it can bring charm and character to not only your inside but your outside too! People watching here is sublime. Even the leashed dogs walking down the street are perfect pure breads. I can't help but think of the opening scene in Disney's 101 Dalmatians where the people physically resemble their dogs as they walk down the sidewalks. There's a certain grin-inspiring truth
What a view!
A little digital sketch I did while sitting on the terrace.
I can hear myself think again. Major Chinese cities have immense noise pollution. Imagine a thousand jack hammers, just as many car horns, and your 3rd grade teacher scraping her nails down the chalkboard, and you've got a vivid idea of how rush-hour sounds in Shanghai. Of course any big city is going to be louder than your rural niche in the countryside, however, Paris seems to represent a certain audible consideration. Horns aren't constantly blaring, voice volume is appropriate, construction is minimal. It's tranquil, it's simple, it's respectful.
Some foreigners arguably play into the love cliche too much when it comes to Paris. Is it ridiculously romantic here? Yes. Will you see flirtatious couples gliding by with stars in their eyes? Yes. Let's not forget though, Paris is just another city, right? People fall in love all over the world and you shouldn't expect to come to Paris to fall in love or rekindle your rocky relationship, or should you? I'm starting to think a city's inner workings can contribute greatly to love and a relationship. And Paris is a prime example:
1. The preserved romantic architecture: It signifies stability and longevity.
Where'd the tip go?
The view that inspired the sketch.
2. Less stress equals less arguing: Many French people seem to live this leisurely lifestyle. They stroll, they buy their groceries daily, they walk their dogs, they take their time eating. Less stress is great for relationships.
3. The fantasy that you can eat cheese, bread, and butter every day and still find love: I'm telling you, French people have either mastered the art of eating in moderation OR simply can't gain weight. Don't deny your tummy of life's delectables hoping it'll lead you to love, because the French don't.
4. The cliche fairytale itself: Paris has been built up to be this vibrant city of love, and many people know and believe it to be just that. You certainly won't be the only one coming here with this not-so-crazy expectation. We are our own destiny?
I saw a couple shopping on Rue Claire. They had to have been newlyweds because they had that glimmer in their eyes for one another. Long brunette hair fell evenly onto her white summer dress as she held onto her basket of baguettes and fresh produce, and her husband darted a few feet away to capture a photo
Lovers' messages left on a bridge near the tower.
of the Frenchman playing the accordion. He Raised the camera up to take the shot and gazed back at her over his shoulder. She was laughing and gazing into her husband's smiling eyes. It was sort of the only time I've ever seen a romance movie moment projected into real life. And it was in that moment that Paris made me a believer.
Want to get that spark back in your relationship? Trying to figure out where to go for your honeymoon? I vote Paris. I understand now why so many others agree. The only downfall of honeymooning in Paris: It's an easy way to gain back every pound you lost to fit into your wedding dress/tuxedo.
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