Sous les ciels de Paris ...
I fell in love with Paris even before I had ever visited the city. In fact, I fell in love with everything French as far back as in my early childhood, when I first heard the language (probably on TV) and watched French movies and travel documentaries about France. It was an instant crush.
For the record: I have always had a passion for languages, - even different accents of my own language have always fascinated me, - and foreign languages are like music to my ears. The French language more than any other.
I first visited Paris in 1984, and it was everything I had dreamed of, and more. Le Tour Eiffel… L'Arc de Triomphe… Les Champs-Elysées… Pont Alexandre… Le Louvre… Montmartre… all the famous places, of course. But most of all it was the sounds, the smell of fresh baguettes from the bakery, the restaurants, the elegance of the French women, in all its simplicity… the green areas…Jardin de Tuileries… La Seine… les bateaux mouche… Notre Dame… Sacre Caeur… le Quartier Latin…
I was lucky enough to be visiting my French friend, who lived with her newly wed husband in a Paris apartment close to La Place d'Etoile. Thus I was able to experience first-hand what it was like to live in one of those wonderful old buildings. The solid wooden door… the concierge downstairs… the spiral staircase… the high ceilings of the apartment and the large windows, opened up to let the summer breeze play with the light curtains…
And the kitchen, facing the backyard, with a large window where the sounds from the neighbors came in and tickled my ears, with their laughing, the sounds of their pots and pans as they were making their dinner in the neighboring flat.. the smell of food… a dog barking… All familiar sounds, but yet so different there… Because the backdrop was different from what I was used to.
And I loved the Paris shops, all the specialized shops: boulangerie, pattisserie, charcutterie … Even going to the local supermarket and buy food was an adventure! What a selection! The Bon Maman jams … the cheese… the sausages… the wine … oh-la-la!
But even going to the big malls, like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, was a more pleasant experience than visiting many other malls I’ve been to. And the Paris life … starting the day with a bowl of café au lait and some croissants with confiture du framboise… Perhaps not the healthiest alternative in the long run, but my God, what a joy!
Lunching out at a restaurant, watching the people walking by and having a nice conversation with friends … flaner sur les quais… listening to someone playing the accordion in the French way … the sound of Edith Piaf on the radio, or some more modern music on Radio Énergie … In 1984 they played “Red, red wine” with UB40 and “Neun-und-neunzig Luftballons..” - and my friend recorded the radio-program for me and I played it again and again when I came back home, and longed back to Paris.
I will always long back to Paris. I’ve been there twice since that first time, but hardly often enough. As much as I love the rest of the world and want to see it all: Paris will always have a special place in my heart.
Paris, je t'aime.
(This was first published on my blog "Leylas Journal" over at leylasjournal.tumblr.com)
Hi, I'm Else Kosberg, a Norwegian woman who is passionate about travel, languages, photography & filming, and learning about other people and cultures. I'm a writer, motivational speaker and broadcaster who wants to empower others (and especially women) to live unapologetically on their own terms. I will forever be a Warrior for Peace, love and understanding across the borders, and with this blog I hope to inspire, motivate and empower YOU to start exploring the world and maybe follow the roads less traveled.