My first idea of Paris was influenced greatly by film. Specifically, the film Sabrina starring the irresistibly adorable Audrey Hepburn. When I was a child my family watched this film. A lot. We watched it whenever it was on television. With the emergence of the VCR we recorded our own wobbly version to watch whenever we liked (cheesy 1980’s commercial breaks included). I loved this movie and in this movie the city of Paris is practically cast as a character. Paris is the place you go to find yourself, change your luck, become sophisticated; Paris is the “world”. Sabrina is transformed in Paris. This romanticized version of Paris is what I carried with me for the 36 years it has taken me to get all the way to France. That is a big build-up. Aren’t you curious about what my opinion is now that I have arrived? Do you think I was disappointed? Underwhelmed? Well, I have also seen a lot of other films about Paris. Amelie, La Ballon Rouge, Les Miserables, An American in Paris, Moulin Rouge, La Vie En Rose to name a few. These films show what Sabrina does not: the many dimensions of a complex and mysterious city. A sometimes seedy, dirty Paris full of drunken artists and consumption-filled brothels. A city with a dark and bloody past, of turmoil and civil disobedience and revolution. But also it is shown as a fairytale place full of limitless inspiration, creativity, bohemian values and impossibly long ballet scenes. So, what did I find? I found that it would take a lifetime to come to understand completely the wonders and mysteries of just the Louvre, let alone the entire city. Paris is deep. Literally and figuratively. And I have only just scratched the surface. It is old and gorgeous and inspiring and yet somehow young and fresh and burgeoning. They were right to cast Paris as a character in Sabrina because it is a living, breathing being. An old friend with sage advice, an impeccable wit and a fabulous wardrobe. I was not disappointed. I did not leave with a new haircut and a French ball gown like Sabrina did, but I was transformed all the same. There is no way to un-do it. I will never be the same again. Check out the highlights of our trip below. Are you curious about what Sean, Payton, Jack and Ava thought of Paris? Stay tuned!
Bois de Vincennes.
Around the neighborhood.