Four Days in Paris Part 1

“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”
― Angela Carter

I’ve been putting these posts together for a while now, and the day I was going to post the first part of the story, there was another attack in Paris. The information of this us still being pieced together.

The city of light is a resilient old girl, just as London is a crusty old guy, and both are holding it together spectacularly. And yet. It does feel like there are people who want to rip it to shreds because it’s beautiful and (at it’s best) it an be seen as a symbol of people getting along in spite of forces trying to rip it apart. Sometimes failing miserably, but still trying.

There’s a reason people fall in love with Paris. It revels in beauty and thought and language, which is dangerous to the harsh and the narrow. It’s sumptuous and gauche and luxurious and wretched all at the same time. It wears its age and its history well, and it doesn’t seem to be ashamed of even its own darker moments. It’s easy to love and so I think it must be easy to hate too.

It’s not surprising to me that Paris is considered female or feminine in its language or its characterization. It’s not safe to be beautiful, disappointing, sexy, boring, interesting, complicated, conflicted, contrary, romanticized, fetishized, put on a pedestal, found lacking, found transcendent, loved, or hated. Paris is all of these things. I’m always glad when go and I’m sorrowed that I or other people have to second guess whether or not it’s safe to right now. We need her romance and charm and pleasure and sober history more than ever.

3 thoughts on “Four Days in Paris Part 1”

  1. Oh, that bookstore looks divine! I’ve heard about Shakespeare and Company. Did you get any books there?

    I find it hard to comprehend that these beautiful cities, like Paris and London, are under attack. You expressed it perfectly when you said “I’m sorrowed that I or other people have to second guess whether or not it’s safe to [travel] right now”. Me too.

    1. I didn’t get any books, but I always love stopping is as it is an utterly charming place. I was content to admire the resident shop cat and play on the jauntily out of tune piano!

      Jeff and I are planning our next trip at the moment, but it’s very strange to have to factor in the possibility of attacks into it. I’ve written before about how many times terrorist attacks have disrupted my travel since my university days, and I only expect the number to go up through adulthood. It’s the world we live in now, and it’s strange to live so near to it…

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