It was the first Sunday in September in Paris circa 1999. I recollect getting lost in a flock of tourists visiting the Louvre. I was also slightly saddened that the Mona Lisa was being suffocated in glass enclosure as a sea of people crowded da Vinci's masterpiece. There were no cell phones, no digital cameras and no distractions to the art of travel. People used tangible maps, wandered mindlessly and planned the day based off interest, not the closest café with wifi. I was 7 years old and my carry-on consisted of a polaroid camera and a Walkman CD player with Now 2. I probably took 12 pictures that entire trip | 1. Mona Lisa, 2. Statue of Venus, 3. Indiana Jones ride at Disney Land Paris 4. My grandmother and mother 5. Warm milk and a croissant, etc.
I have dreamt of Paris ever since. Perhaps it reminds me of my family, or conceivably the romanticism associated with the city of lights. I have slept under a wall sized portrait of the Eiffel Tower for the past 10 years, and studied Parisian fashion week every year at SCAD. It is also the only destination of the 50+ countries I have visited that I did not have a keychain for (why yes, I do collect keychains from each country I go to.)
Fast forward 15 years, I am wandering to the Düsseldorf airport dragging my weekender bag and leather loafers to visit my best friend from high school. Paris was everything I remembered plus more. I was in tears the second I got to the Eiffel Tower overwhelmed with a soul from home alongside tango music echoing in the background. We sipped hot chocolate at Angelica’s, took photos nearly every step we took, climbed the busy stairs to see the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower atop Galeries Lafayette, and went to a pop-up trance club decorated like a Berlin living room. I couch surfed, drank wine, ate too much bread and laughed way too hard.
Paris is inevitably perfect and would love nothing more than to spend a portion of my life surrounded by such artistic influence.