It may be true that I have only spent roughly a week in your grandeur but, somehow you feel like home. Even a 22 hour travel day with trains breaking down, electricity going out and lack of ventilation couldn’t hold back my smile the minute I stepped on to your hallowed grounds.
I do not fear getting myself lost on your streets. Instead, I feel elation at finding an opportunity to discover another arrondissement.
I welcome what others consider the “rude” Parisians. Truth be told, it feels natural to fall in to the same pattern.
I cannot wait to hear the language pouring out from the mouths around me. In my years of learning, I’ve come to find confidence in my own broken French.
The Eiffel Tower still stands tall and majestic in the daylight. At night, I look forward to sitting on the grass and watching it sparkle every hour for just five minutes. I even enjoy the vendors trying valiantly to sell me beer, wine and cigarettes – although I know not to oblige.Le Champs-Élysées is just as touristic as ever. I love every moment of it: walking towards l’Arc de Triomphe, seeing the line outside Louis Vuitton, discovering that there is an Elie Saab on a side street. Though there is nothing I can afford, it still feels right to be there.
The food is still outrageously overpriced and I shake my head yet I say to myself, “That’s Paris!”
Le château de Versailles and les jardins royaux are just as exquisite as the last time I stepped foot through the golden gates. Walking through the War Room and the Peace Room and imagining Marie-Antoinette lounging in her bedchamber help me understand the French Revolution. Strolling through the immaculately kept gardens makes me wish I weren’t allergic to all things nature.
Finally, la cathédrale Notre Dame and le basilique Sacré-Coeur… Where do I even begin? These places feel like home within my home. Everything makes sense when I walk through their doors. My world feels at peace, even with hundreds of others around me. I stand gaping in awe at every splendid colour and chapel and stained glass window. Lighting a candle for the ones I love feels right. Staring out from the top of Montmartre at my beautiful city, I feel content.
Paris, you should know you are my home… ma patrie. Et je vous remercie pour ce sentiment.