#3: Love Notes to Paris
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015
By Paris Lovers Everywhere
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Photo by Melissa G. Arredondo

 

I was in Paris last September for the first time, and fell head over heels in love with the city.
 

As a photographer, I'm constantly looking for different angles and that magic light that so infrequently appears, but everywhere you look in Paris, they are there! Your neck can actually cramp from the constant motion and gawking that every newcomer goes through. I had to force myself to breathe and put the camera down so I could let it all soak in, and when I did, more magic was revealed.


Photo by Melissa G. Arredondo


Horses were everywhere, and to me this was perfection! They are the silent, ever resilient protectors of Paris and will never let their guard down. The faces of fountains, buildings, bridges and monuments are as much devoted to them as to the other beloved gargoyles. However horses are the watchers and loyal companions, while the gargoyles are tricksters and designed to instill a feeling of unease.


Photo by Melissa G. Arredondo

 

I spent one day at Versailles, but instead of following the usual tourist route, I went for a different experience. I contacted Horse in the City and set up a private ride through the parks of Versailles. We galloped through the very forests that Marie herself used. We jumped ditches and galloped across those massive green lawns right up to those famous fountains with their bronze horses were watching us with envy. It was perfection…

 
Next time you are Paris, look for the horses. They are everywhere, and if you let them, they will guide you while you explore, looking for those angles and magic light! -- Melissa G. Arredondo

 

Photo By Sb2s3 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Paris, To Me, is Like the Icing on the Cake...

My fondest memory of Paris is walking down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in June of 2008. It was late morning and the sun was dazzling, reflecting off the ground and bathing everything around me in a glow of bright summer light. I remember how this stark experience stopped me in my tracks. I stopped walking and l gasped at how beautiful everything looked all around me.

I stopped thinking about anything else at that moment. I felt like I was walking on top of an ornate, delicious cake! It felt like this place was delicately created with a confectioner's care. Everything seemed sweet and sugary and perfect. Like the perfect dessert. This is one of those special moments in my life that I can re-live if I close my eyes and concentrate on what it felt like at that moment. I will never forget it. Paris, to me, is like the icing on the cake of our marvelous world. -- Jose Lima

 

Photo by Carolyn Bahr

 

My husband and I arrived in Paris, ready to check out the sites. We hailed a cab and, using my high school level French, I asked the driver, "Parlez-vous Anglais?"

The driver looked at me with disdain and muttered, "Non, parlez Français!" Sliding into the cab, I gulped. I'd offended the driver. Now I had to figure out how to direct him to our destination.

I spoke to my husband in hushed tones, the driver all the while looking at us through the rear-view mirror. "I only know two phrases," I said to my husband. "What're we gonna do?"

Suddenly, the driver burst out laughing. "I'm just joshing you," he said. "I was a cab driver in New York for five years. Your accent was so spot-on, I thought you knew how to speak perfect French, but chose not to."

The ride and lovely, bi-lingual conversation with that Parisian taxi driver... superbe! -- Candy Aluli


Photo courtesy of Ashley Lynn Potvin


For three months, in the fall of 1989, this was my view every day as I walked to class.  I spent the semester of my junior year of college in Paris, France.  If most people think about the Fall of ’89 they remember the Fall of the Berlin Wall.  Being in Paris during that historic event, I was able to take advantage with a quick trip to Berlin and came away with wonderful memories and my own piece of The Wall.  Hearing about the horrific massacre during the France/Germany soccer match last week brought back memories of my own experience in France and Germany; memories of peace and happiness with the world joined in celebration.  That is what I choose to focus on. 



Image by Reubentg [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The months I spent in Paris were some of the best and most memorable of my life; from the amazing art and architecture, to the food and wine, knowing you walked in the same paths as so many people in history, to the wonderful people in the City.  I have had people ask me “Aren’t people in Paris rude?”  My response was “no ruder than anyone in any large city.”  Sure there were some, but I don’t remember them.  I DO remember the man who ran the storefront Crêperie beside my metro stop who made the best Nutella crêpes around.  I remember the conversation I had with a shopkeeper about how wonderful her carrot salad was.  I also remember the waitress in a bistro where my roommate and I stopped one night.  I stopped there by myself a few weeks later, and she not only remembered me but also asked where my roommate was.  These are the innocent people that were affected by last week’s terror attack.

 

Image by Aarya0141 [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently I had a job interview at a French American school.  The Headmaster asked me why did I minor in French, why not Spanish or another language.  I just sat back and smiled.  I said it was because I fell in love.  Not with an individual but with Paris.  26 years later I still have Willy Ronis posters I bought in Paris hanging on my kitchen walls.  So when I look at my two little boys hanging on the wall, one carrying wine, and another carrying a baguette, or when I see pictures of Notre Dame, or The Louvre, or Sacre Coeur, I remember again why I fell in love. -- Ashley L. Potvin

 

Have a memory/story you'd like to share about Paris? Let us know via bekwright@gmail.com.

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