One of the most beautiful and poetic quotes about Paris is the one Ernest Hemingway came up with : “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” I remembered this as soon as I read the post scriptum part of the letter my old and wise neighbor sent me: “Don’t forget to enjoy your adolescence in Paris”. This note instantly triggered so many feelings, both complicated and heart-warming.
So, I have been thinking about writing what it feels like to be living as a young person in the City of Lights right now, but avoided doing it for the simplest of reasons: The inevitable amount of sugary clichés that everyone reading about Paris has to confront: Eiffel tower, macaroons, flowers, champagne, the romantic aura, picnics, Eiffel tower again and again…Eiffel tower for the last time. While themselves these images have nothing wrong with them, this boring standard to which the city has been subordinated for ages is too sweet and sometimes even inaccurate. The immediate repulsion as a response is completely understandable. However, as my second year here is coming to an end, I’ve started discovering so many places that are hidden for an untrained touristic eye – the list is actually endless! (I’ll share this list in my next post). The real magic of Paris lies in its hidden courtyards, tourist-free gardens, rays of sunlight falling on its traditionally blue roofs, coming home late at night, sitting by the Seine and enjoying your own (or others’) company, because it’s only then you can fully appreciate the power of the surroundings…
What I love the most about living here is that you’d never say it’s a city of working people or a city of students. It’s where people are supposed to l i v e in its most enjoyable and celebratory form. When I feel tired or too stressed, I just go out and take a really good, long stroll – it’s my kind of escapism. Paris is especially rewarding for those attentive to details – without having a good eye and a penchant for aesthetics, it’s difficult to grasp the subtleties of its streets, avenues and boulevards; buildings and courtyards; gardens and parks.
It’s not difficult to understand why Paris has inspired so many writers – every time I pass a café or a garden, I see so many people who are uncompromisingly concentrated on their creative work. Immersed in their own world, pouring the waves of inspiration on a piece of paper in a written or in a drawn form, they make me feel as if I myself am capable of writing something absolutely extraordinary and transcending my usual creative limits. And while the most of my articles are written in my own apartment under no overly romantic circumstances whatsoever, usually their most beautiful details are born in my notes while passing the street or riding the bus, enjoying the utterly spellbinding sights. And this is how I feel as a young person in Paris – always in the middle of creative swirls, feeling the pulse of the vivid beauty around me, hungry for new sights and new feelings. Paris inspires me to yearn for things that might be out of my reach at that time, but who knows if it will still be the same case tomorrow?
I have owned these two beautiful dresses for three or four years already. I love wearing a big part of my clothes for years (I put in extra care so that they last) not only because it’s environmentally responsible and wallet-friendly, but also because they remind me of many, many beautiful moments we have shared together. For example, I wore this white dress to the Last Bell celebration; the black one was my dress of choice for the September 1st celebration of my final year at school. I love when clothes tell stories and that is why I cherish these two pieces in my closet in particular. When I had to decide which clothes to bring to Paris, these two whispered ‘Paris’ to me in the strongest and most emphasized manner. The ‘Edie’ shoes are Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello – I am a big and honest fan of his work, because rare is a designer who succeeds to ooze the sex appeal with his creations as much as Anthony does. His creations are bold, brave, beautiful and sexy – they might not be for everyone, but they will surely attract everyone’s attention. When I read Pandora Syke’s article about sneakers and their decline AKA “The death of the trainer”, supported by a statement that “Great seductions have never taken place while wearing a pair of Air Max”, I instantly thought about Saint Laurent’s high-octane shoes. If you agree with this, the ‘Edie’ shoes might be the best player in the seduction game you’ll ever get your hands on.
Photos by the absolutely amazing photographer Nadia Gric