I am in LOVE!
Before I give the impression that all is negative about my time in France I need to redress the balance a little.
We arrived in the month of August 2008 when the joke goes that Paris is closed. It was nigh impossible to progress anything practical like finding work or an apartment. I wasn’t even able to deal with the Prefecture until September so what a wonderful excuse just to relax and have fun!
Aaron, Josh and I made the most of our time to explore our new environment. After all it is very important to familiarise yourself with your surroundings, right? LOL, it was like having a month long pass to Disneyland for me as we saw sights that I only ever dreamed of visiting and I can honestly say that I fell in LOVE with Paris!
As we visited the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, Opera Garnier, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre or when we walked by the Seine I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the architecture, the sense of history and mostly a feeling of romance. My favourite place? That would be the Musée D’Orsay, an old train station converted into an art museum with Monet, Van Gogh, Rodin, Toulouse Lautrec, Gauguin, Miller, Renoir etc. There is one jaw-dropping room called La Salle des Fêtes which left me speechless-OK, no jokes about that now!
The French are into all that is elaborate and yet tasteful. Although there is gold everywhere you look there is never a sense that it is overdone or garish. In some places like the Louvre I was even more in awe standing in the outside courtyard of the magnificent buildings than I was of the paintings like the Mona Lisa on the inside.
I am not sure how they have managed to achieve it but the inner city of Paris has maintained its ancient charm and they have largely managed to keep out the towering skyscrapers that represent so many modern cities. Yes, they do have skyscrapers here but they are kept on the outskirts and especially in the La Defense area which has the stunning Grande Arch de la Défense. But even the modern architecture that has been designed by the French in Paris is eyecatching in its elegance and beauty. As I came out into the La Défense courtyard it just took my breath away.
Although I have lived here for more than two years now I still have the same feelings as when I saw everything with fresh eyes and I take every opportunity to explore this magnificent city. I get excited when I know there are friends coming to visit because then I have a legitimate excuse for re-visiting all the sites. When I feel low and wonder what I am doing here I take a train into Paris, I wander around the base of the Eiffel Tower, I take a deep drink of the scene from the Trocadero and then all is well with the world! It is a great feeling to be in love!