Friday, March 30, 2012

paris was always worth it

Paris in bloom may be the most beautiful place in the world.  On Tuesday evening, I took a late Eurostar train from St. Pancras for a 24-hour whirlwind visit to the City of Lights.  I arrived in Paris - fittingly - as the clock struck midnight, and the magic began.  

On Wednesday morning, I awoke to the sun shining gloriously above my head with not a cloud in the sky.  My first stop - after a decadent cup of bold French coffee - was the Musee des Arts-Decoratifs to view the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs retrospective.  This exhibit was pure artistry.  Both of these men confronted the challenges of their respective time periods - Louis Vuitton, industrialization, and Marc Jacobs, globalization - to create the most iconic brand of all time.  Now, more than ever, I am convinced that fashion remains one of the highest forms of art.  

After this moving experience, I decided to profite from the gorgeous weather so I took a pleasant stroll along the Seine, passing the infamous Shakespeare & Co bookstore.  I stopped briefly to peruse through the old Hemingway copies, then I headed for my favorite arrondissement - Le Marais in the fourth.  Here, I wandered through the winding stone streets, poking occasionally into the many boutiques, and eventually ended at the Place des Vosges.  On a sunny day, this square may be the most pleasant spot in all of Paris.  

After a few more hours in the sun, I went for a spot of tea at my favorite tea shop, Le Loir dans la Thiere.  With its' many references to Alice in Wonderland and its tasty loose-leaf blends, this cozy shop brought back many warm memories.  

I felt like Cinderella at the ball as I looked at my watch and realized that I now needed to make my way back to Gare du Nord to return home to London.  At first, my mind fleetingly thought about how I could possibly extend this trip for just one more day to enjoy this magical city.  I quickly returned to reality though.  The wonderful thing about Paris is that I always know that I will be back.  

There is never any ending to Paris, and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other.  We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties or ease it could be reached.  Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. 
        - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, 1964