une lettre d'amour à Paris

A love letter to Paris..

From the moment I chose French as an elective my freshmen year of high school I instantly dreamt of everywhere in Europe. At first I signed up for French just for shits and giggles but I somehow ended up falling in love with the language.. It was such a challenge but I’ve always loved a challenge. I think that was when I really started to realize how big the world the was. And that sounds so dumb but you know what I mean. When you want to broaden your horizon and explore more than home or nearby. You start to realize how many countries there are, how many little cities and towns among the countries, how many backroads to explore in the towns.

The world just started to feel really big.

This was when I was also first getting into hiking and starting to take photos so I just could feel the wanderlust ready to consume me.

I remember one week in French when we were watching a documentary or a movie and it was showing Paris. How it seemed so far away like honestly on a different world. How beautiful the streets looked, filled with magic.. How I thought I would never even be able to speak French realistically in that country..

I graduated in 2016 and I hugged my teacher Madame Taylor saying I promised to visit Paris at some point in my life thanks to her.

Fast forward 3 years.. And well. I fell instantly in love. From the expensive taxi ride to our hotel, all the way to the music in the streets. My heart was full of content.

I wouldn’t say a day and a half was the most time I would have liked to spend here but it was a cheap layover option, so why not? But I will say a day and a half was enough to make be fall completely head over heels for this beautiful city.

I discovered the joy in walking around for hours and getting lost in the city and not the mountains for once. Having the Eiffel Tower follow me down every alleyway I walked -how it felt like it could be in your viewpoint no matter how far you thought you have gone. The simple serendipity of just sitting at a small cafe along the street, drinking coffee and eating a fresh croissant while people watching - it’s different than back home knowing you’re in Paris.. The fresh bread; from pastries, croissants and French baguettes. I know I’ll always be thinking back to all the delicious bread I ate on my day here. I was drawn to museums for the first time while traveling because I knew a little bit about the history and I instantly fell in love with the quietness that each room held. We sat at the Louvre for hours in the middle of the day and then laid in the park outside where we didn’t do much talking but more observing and taking in of the moment. It felt special to explore a place that I once had learned so much about, regardless on how much the French language and history slipped my mind.. I had that same feeling I had sitting in that classroom, while walking the streets, that feeling of “This feels so far away - such like a dream” It didn’t feel real.

No city compares to Paris.. Nightime was when I truly felt my love for the city grow. The way you see all the artists start to come out with their paintings, all the different singing voices you hear as you roam the streets, different people playing instruments and songs to get crowds to come dancing.

The city just starts to come more alive at night..

Cierra and I grabbed food for the typical picnic; a fresh baguette and cheese, strawberries, crepes and then a bottle of champagne. A moment I had been dreaming about for six years now and it felt even more perfect than in my imagination. To be on top of a hill with my best friend by my side as we got drunk under the Eiffel Tower, it all felt too good to be true. Such a “Pinch me” moment. I’ll never forget how we sat there for an hour watching as the day slowly changed to night and the city started to get more busy around us. How hard we were laughing at god knows what.. Where at one point I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and probably from knowing how much I loved the moment I was in. Nothing had ever felt perfect before this honestly. There’s only a short period of life where you get to travel with your best friend of 14 years pretending to be all boujee as you travel through Paris, when in realistically you’re living off cheap champagne and bread during your time there. It’s just the stories I’m always going to look back on and think how damn lucky I was. We sat there taking it all in. Grabbed another crepe and got even closer to the Eiffel Tower as the clock struck 10PM and it began to officially sparkle, nonetheless it was something you have to witness once in your life. The ultimate bucket list check off. It gave me goosebumps to be standing right infront of something you see so many pictures of. A sight you almost feel you know so well because you’ve seen it a million times. But like you’ll always hear - nothing compares to standing right there as a whole city screams as it lights up. Just such an awe inspiring moment. I cried knowing how that was such a once in a life time feeling. I’ll never see that for the first time again or feel that feeling again, it was so special. Knowing how that was such a moment in time.

It was already 11PM now at this time so we were deciding on leaving and heading back to our hotel, but something wouldn't let us leave.. We somehow ended up spending an hour and a half on an overlook of the Eiffel Tower, literally sitting at the edge watching the world below us. We people watched for hours.. just watching the world unfold infront of us, watching all the busyness; as we just sat. Like the world was spinning around us and everyone had somewhere to be or something to do, but we had all the time in the world. We listened as a guy below us switched back and forth between his accordion and guitar on different songs he sang. Ranging from Shakira to some songs in French. Getting all types of crowds to come together, I watched as I saw a couple run up to him and dance slowly to the live music. Swaying back and fourth as they held each other close, I couldn’t help but think how it was truly the most romantic city. I think that’s why it was so easy for my soul to become so apart of Paris, because my heart longs for love. I love, love. I love watching people be in love. Whether it be with themselves, their partner, their craft / art, their passion in life. I just love watching people love.. Paris is all about that. From all the artists on the streets selling their beautiful paintings, handmade jewelry, collective items or old time books. To seeing all the couples walking the streets. I fell in love, but instead with a lot of moments and feelings. The feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle every hour, the aroma of fresh baguettes throughout the streets, hearing live music sing the city to sleep, watching couples run away to the most romantic place and being in a city that feels too magical to be real.

I wrote in my notes on my phone that night as we sat there:

"When do certain moments or places or feelings ever really hit you, when does it all feel like real life? It’s so hard to make life feel real when it’s going so good and all feels like a dream. A moment in time that will fade away and almost be unreal again”

And I think that explains it enough.

Some places just become apart of you and you don’t know how or why.

There are times and places in your life that live on in your imagination long after you’ve left..

Paris will always be that.

Je t’aime Paris - je te reverrai

Une lettre d'amour à Paris

De, Nicole

I thought I knew what love was, then I met Paris.

My TripsNiki Herring