Every June, like clockwork, I start pining for Europe. Each year the trigger is different, but come June, something sets me off. My heart starts to yearn for lush green grass, winding rivers, bridges, cobblestones, patisseries, red wine, little alleyways and the scent of a city with an ancient history. Last year it was the perfume of the blossoming trees, two summers ago it was a particularly good French tart. This year it was Camera Obscura‘s video for “French Navy”.
Oh Europe! Oh love! This video is how I like to envision all my future love affairs. Kissing and frolicking my way around Paris and Rome with some charmingly cute boy. Two hipsters in love; prancing along the Seine, tumbling around with the Pantheon as a backdrop, picnicking on a fresh baguette and sun warmed brie, tartufo for dessert.
It’s been six months since I was last on that side of the world, two years since I was last in Paris, and four years since I lived in England. Europe is in my bones. Paris, especially, I cannot shake.
My first time in Paris was what Hollywood told me dreams were made of. My boyfriend, at the time, had treated me to five glorious Parisian days. And I fell in love with Paris even before I stepped off the train onto the Gare de Nord platform. We stayed in a cute hotel in Montmartre, right by the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Each day began with a fresh croissant and a glorious cup of French coffee. We wandered the streets with only some semblance of a plan. We hit up all the traditional tourist spots eventually (though, I have to this day never made it up the Eiffel Tower), but you don’t need to be part of the tourist flock to enjoy Paris. In fact it’s better to just sit at a cafe and be part of the city, which is exactly what I did on my second trip to Paris. I meandered through the city, perusing used book stores, reading my finds in some random grassy space, or on the steps of some beautiful building.
The French way of life is something I covet. Fresh living, fresh eating. Picking up ingredients for dinner on the way home from work. Cute boys running around town with baguettes in hand. Leisurely sipping wine al fresco at one of the many cafes, with tables and chairs sprawling into the sidewalk. Lights warming the evening with their glow. The distinct lack of sky scrapers. Small flats with incredible views. A pace of life slow enough to fully savour every moment, to completely indulge all the senses. History. Charm. Beauty.
I don’t understand how anyone cannot instantly fall in love with this city. It’s no wonder at all that Paris attracted so many creative thinkers and amazing artists throughout the century. Paris is flooded with inspiration and beauty.
If my French were up to scratch, I would move there in a heartbeat.
(note to self: enroll in French class.)