This is from my journal from yesterday:
“Writing this from inside the Musee D’Orsay. I’ve just finished eating up all this impressionist/neo-impressionist art – Cross, Signac, Seurat. I need a rest. Or more accurately, my feet need a rest.
Paris so far has been bustling, serious, cozy, hilarious, rainy, ancient, and full of art. I’ve been here three days, and I’ve been to three museums – Centre Pompidou, the Louvre, and Musee D’Orsay. I can’t get enough of it. I love it. I loe that I could see Yayoi Kasuma – Japanese modern art, full of bright colors and artificial lights – one day, and the Mona Lisa the next. I didn’t even know I liked museums this much.
I liked Paris from the second I arrived. First of all, the metro. People rushing. Parisians shooting angry looks, or just looking a little bit angry, all the time. Venice, for all its charm and utter beauty, feels pretty much dead compared to here.
On my first day here, Maria Grazia (Cinzia’s daughter, a.k.a. Migi) took me to a neighborhood called Marais (Paris has neighborhoods! WOOHOO!). After seeing Kasuma’s exhibit at the Centre Pompidou, we went to a 3 PM “brunch” at this little café. This place was how I DEFINE my stereotype of Bohemian Paris. Twenty-something-year-olds with head scarves and red lipstick and aged Oxfords gathered around crowded tables. A guy’s eyes smile from heind thick-rimmed glasses that would be so perfectly pretentious anywhere else. French is everywhere, permeating my consciousness through the muffled laughter and clinks of spoons against coffee cups. The waiter takes his time seating us – Migi and her friend Arthur are not pleased. Once seated, Migi and Arthur throw casual insults at the waiter; they tell me that’s what you’re supposed to do at places already well-liked for good food or good atmosphere.
We walk through thrift stores after brunch. My fingers fall in love with the softest dark blue sweater of all time. I’ve vanishing and sinking into the finely woven threads and gaudy sequins and I’m almost back home.
Fast forward to several hours and one Christmas party later. Migi and I are on our way back to her suitably tiny and lovely flat. My stomach grumbles, perhaps louder than the nearby metro. We stop for ham-and-cheese crepes, which the guy makes right there on the spot. Dinner is best served at midnight, we agree.”
So pretty much, I love this city. As I type, French radio plays in the background. Coincidentally, a song called “Golden Jubilee” – about an American traveling all over the world – was just playing. Coincidence? I think not.