It’s feels strange to imagine, but exactly a year ago today I was getting on an Air France flight at JFK airport and leaving cold, damp grey November weather in New York for cold, damp grey November weather in Paris. Even in chilly November Paris sparkles. It’s just getting ready for the holidays and all the glitter that come with them, and late fall sunlight never fails to make even the dampest, greyest sidewalks inspiring.
I try to remind myself that I am lucky to live in New York, but when I look at pictures of Paris, I feel my heart start to soften and melt and nostalgia overwhelms me. This is the city I feel I am truly meant to be in. I feel about Paris in my 20’s and 30’s how I felt about New York City in my teens. There’s a deep attraction and a longing to be in a place that I feel fits all the contours of who I am, or at least who I wish myself to be.
I know it’s irrational. I live in a big city and I understand the frustrations of daily city living. It wears you down. People are rude. It’s exhausting. But then there are the rooftops, the sky, the open markets, the cafes, the boutiques, the culture, the Seine, the rues, the quartiers, the Canal St. Martin, all the many nuances that make up Paris.
Last year I set myself a Parisian itinerary guided by collections of “bonnes addresses” from blogs I had been reading and Pia Jane Bijkerk’s book Paris Made by Hand. I visited my dear sister, ate croissants like there was no tomorrow (the average Parisian croissant is better than the best New York croissant, which should not come as a surprise to you), and learned about the 80’s teen pop sensation Lio. I spent a lovely afternoon (and several awesome evenings) with my dear friend Leila, running around to indie boutiques like Corner de Createurs and La Cocotte (twice!), and doing silly things I love like going to Monoprix, having tea at Mariage Frères, cooing at beautiful clothes at Antoine et Lili, and buying bras at Princesse Tam Tam. I also just let myself wander until my feet were frozen, rode the metro just because I like it (I never do that in New York), snapped pictures, and soaked it in what I hope was enough Paris to sustain me until I can come back to the city that feels like my rightful home in the world.
8 thoughts on “Paris This Time Last Year”
Reading your post was like reading something I would say: why doesn’t NY have any good croissants, and why do I have to find them in France? I understand having freezing feet in Paris in winter. I cannot stand NY subway but anywhere else -I am fine with their metro. And, why do I want to visit Paris so much? Thanks for a great post and pictures!
Thanks, Marina! I’m glad you liked the post. I think anywhere else when I ride the metro I’m like “Oooh! An adventure!” whereas here I’m like, “This sucks and it’s slow and dirty and I’m late.” To trade in cliches, there really is a magic in Paris and I feeling I have not found in other cities that I love so much. I also have to say, knowing great people there is one thing that keeps me coming back, but to be honest, I could be completely lonely and completely content there as well.
I hear you about you! If you cannot relocate then in the meantime, you’ll always have Paris.
So true, and New York is not so bad as compensation! I know so many of my Parisian friends would switch places with me – the grass on the other side of the Atlantic is always greener!
… the Atlantic and the Pacific (for me)!!
Oh – I posted on Cannes. Check it out for some french inspiration 🙂
Thanks! I’ll have a look! Nice to blog meet you!
Great to blog meet you too. I would love your comments on the Cannes piece! Enjoy!