Four years ago I went to Paris to visit my cousin while she was there doing a study abroad stint. My relationship had been grinding to a slow but steady halt. I had wanted us to go together, but found myself there alone watching the magic of Paris sweep other couples off their feet. I was jealous, but found that the magic of Paris was that it didn’t matter if I was there with someone I loved or not. There was so much to breathe in, the architecture, the sounds of the language, the food, the people, the lights, that it seduced me despite my melancholy attitude. I found myself definitively falling out of love with my man and in love with a magic city. I haven’t been back since, but when I crave that feeling of falling in love with a place rather than a person I read about Paris. Recently I picked up French Lessons by Ellen Sussman and it has transported me beyond the desert and I am suddenly walking in the Tuileries Garden among topiaries and tree lined paths. Here is a little taste of Paris, as a French tutor and his student climb the Eiffel Tower.
When she reaches the window she takes in a lungful of air and then holds it. It’s as if she doesn’t want to let go of what she sees. All of Paris is spread before her, from the heights of Sacre Coeur, down along the banks of the Seine, out to the farthest reaches of each arrondisement. The clouds swirl around her, at eye level, and every once in a while the city disappears and she’s heaven-bound. Then a gust of wind pushes away the cloud like magic, Paris sits at her feet.
“I love it,” Nico says finally. “My tower. My Paris.”