It was my first day in Paris when I walked through Le Jardins du Luxembourg. Grey pavement, my next step was onto white shells. I didn’t dare to cut corners, the grass was so green. The gardens themselves, a bright escapade. Sitting in the sun, I eyed Parisians as much as I did tourists. Their relaxed expressions spoke of the soft jazz that filled their ears. I envied a girl reading on whitened steps. This was and would be her Monday afternoon. How one could ever detest the day here in Paris, I don’t know.
Characterised by crepes (try chocolate with banana) and croissants, this Monday saw our footsteps in the courtyard of the Louvre, our backs on the grass of the Luxembourg. We shared the sun with picnic blankets and the ends of vintage skirts. We shared the city with Parisians, whose smiles, although perhaps rare, emerged like water from park fountains.
I didn’t buy a book from Shakespeare and Company, nor a bag from Longchamp. Blue sky and toy sailboats, a pickpocket could have stolen my purse and yet still, I would have been happy. This city fails to disappoint. Perhaps it is the season – gelato this good cannot possibly exist year round. Or perhaps it is just Paris. A city as romantic as you want it to be. It only dances if you dare sing. Expect to hear sighs, much like Daisy Buchanon, at your ‘french banter’. Vow to speak it anyway. The French will shake their heads and smirk no matter what you do.
My endeavour to be Parisian oozes out of my mouth like the chocolate in my pain du chocolat. They call me as good as a mundane conversation. Exceed those boundaries and I’m overwhelmed. As with most life situations, I will laugh or smile it off. Just to reveal I’m as much a New Zealander as I am a fan of good sunsets, and even better turtlenecks – both of which Paris or Parisians do well.
I’m not that good at pretending I’m a local (though do commend me for sitting on a windowsill and pretending to type). I am good, if not better than the Parisians, at loving their city. Someone once told me that when life gives you lemons, you should eat french crepes. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t once debated such a wise statement. It’s true – lemon and sugar tastes good on crepes – and life, it tastes good in Paris.
P.S. Thanks to Antonia (Noni) without whom I wouldn’t have been able to post from Paris (you’re okay).