Friday, May 18, 2012

Paris to Me

It was 1990 when I rented the apartment in the 13th. I would walk down Goblin to the rue Mouffetard enjoying the sights and smells along the way. You see, I was a guy who had no reason to expect to visit by tour let alone enjoy the best city in the world for five weeks.

The apartment was across from a great boulangerie and I had many a patisserie over the weeks as well as the fresh bread each morning and afternoon. I really liked the butter, bread, and espresso. Actually, the fact that a great cup was always served was a real treat.

I returned to Paris in 1992 after a lengthy car trip that included Austria, Spain, Italy, and Southern France. This time the apartment was in the 3rd so the neighborhood included the Place Vosges. I loved spending time there during the summer and went as well to the Jardin du Luxembourg. The Luxembourg was a bit of a walk but a must since there was live music each summer in the late afternoon.

I didn’t get back to Paris again until 2000 for roughly a month. The weather was bad and my love of walking in beautiful Paris was upended. I spent a lot of time looking for an apartment to buy.

In 2002 I returned again, bought a car and drove to Provence. This began a lengthy house hunt which continued until 2010. During that time I visited Paris one time for a very cold December, and again in 2004, 2006, and 2008.

Quite a history with the most beautiful city in the world. I’ve seen a number of changes and learned my way. Today I see a Paris that is both public and hidden. The tourist worn Paris is becoming, sadly, a cliche; an inevitable outcome of being loved too much. However, some remains of what is genuine can be found which is also true of France generally.

I look forward to each visit but know the frustration that comes with change is part of growing older.

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