We love Paris. We as in the whole world. We as in me.
Because it’s true, the global consciousness has carved out a special place for Paris. I usually don’t try to perpetuate stereotypes, but I did the most stereotypical thing when I chose Paris as my study abroad city. There are so many other places in this world, but I went with the most generic American university student choice. Besides London, maybe. It was my first experience in Europe. It was my first time traveling somewhere foreign. It was totally out of my comfort zone.
I may not have learned much French (it’s actually quite embarrassing how bad my French is), but I did learn a lot. Paris is a challenging place once you look past the romantic surface. It is flawed in many ways. The more intimately you get to know the city, the harder it is to love. Hell, I wrote an entire thesis about the religious and racial tensions in France. And yet, I can’t help but love it in spite of its flaws.
Because look at it. It’s the most ridiculously beautiful place in the world. I am content doing absolutely nothing by myself in Paris. That’s actually my favorite pastime. Doing nothing in Paris. Being a nobody in Paris. It’s the best thing.
So I first spent a summer in Paris back in 2014. A student, a temporary resident. A wide-eyed child tentatively dipping her toe into this new world. I was barely beginning to open up before I had to say goodbye.
It wasn’t until 2019 that I was able to visit again. This time an adult, alone, with a little more scrutiny. And yet, it sucked me in so easily. I was sunny in a rainy Paris. Swept away once again by the awe-inspiring architecture. The way the light dances on the façades. So I had to admit it. I want so badly to say it’s overrated, but damn I love Paris.