I was 16 when I first came to Paris. It was only a matter of 48 hours that I stayed, but that was enough. I still remember standing on le Pont des Arts on a cold and rainy day in March, looking below at the riverboats full of tourists careening down the Seine underneath me. From one side of the bridge I could just glimpse the two towers of Notre Dame's facade peaking out from the architectural landscape, while the Tour d'Eiffel loomed towards the sky from the other. And do you know that feeling when you realize there is no where else in the world you would rather be, because where you are in that moment is at the center of it all? That is what Paris did to me that day. She struck me like lightning, hypnotizing me with her allure and mystery and grace, and she made me fall in love.
It is now 8 years since I first stood on that bridge, and I've stood on it many times since. By happy accident I have found that life leads me back to Paris again and again, and that I've been lucky enough to go at least every two years since my first trip: once when I was 18 for a family vacation, then again when I was 20 for my summer abroad, once more with my sister for a week after graduation where we had the luxury of staying in Le Marais at the apartment of my french professor, and finally last October when my boyfriend suggested we take les vacances to La Ville de la Lumiere for my 24th birthday. Each trip was different and magical in its own way, like one of those late night conversations you have with your best friend when you stay up all night and talk about everything and nothing at the same time. And every time I leave I find myself asking, "When are you going to go back? When are you going to go and stay a while?"
And I suppose, in a small way, the answer to that question is this blog. Writing about Paris forces me to think about Paris - when do I want to go back? How long will I stay? Will I go to work? To study? (I think it will be the latter). Sometime around the 6th century BCE the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Well Lao, it is 3,446 miles from Boston to Paris, so wish me luck. Because this is my first step.