Travel

Third time’s a charm

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At the Musee d’Orsay

The more I go to Paris, the more I think of it. This is unusual for me; not that I am as confident as Elizabeth Bennett that my first impression is always right, but I know my own tastes. I am open to the idea that I might misjudge someone or something, and to giving things another go, but in general I know what I want.

This confidence of character is important, I believe. If you don’t know your own heart, you are easily swept up in whatever comes along, without considering what will be the best for you. When I was 18, I thought I had everything I wanted figured out, but at 26 I know a lot more about myself and the things I value. I value the ability to change and be changed, while at the same time remaining true to my principles.

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Just a shopping mall, nbd

One of my principles is that just because something is popular doesn’t mean you have to like it. Another is that the museum-ification of cities is kind of gross. And so upon my first visit to Paris, I saw a beautiful city, but one I had already seen a million times, over-filtered and overpriced. It was undeniably beautiful, but it also seemed unreal and artificial.

But perhaps that what Paris has to offer: the romance of a dream, the impossible made possible, the real and unreal on every corner.

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I mean, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing

Perhaps my story of Paris is in opposition to the normal narrative; instead of love at first sight it was like that quote from a John Green novel: I fell in love slowly, then all at once. (Ugh, sorry.)

Oh, and I finally saw the Eiffel Tower. Only took me three visits!

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11 thoughts on “Third time’s a charm

  1. Great post! I’ve been to Paris just once and just like you, I didn’t think it was that great. But if I were to visit again, maybe I’d like it a bit more, could be like sushi which I didn’t like at the first try but have gradually started to like eating! 😀

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  2. I didn’t like the city the first and only time I visited either but there is a word for it and it’s the Paris Syndrome. And I seriously can’t believe it took you three trips to go see the Eiffel Tower. It’s THE Eiffel Tower!

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  3. When I went to Paris, I thought I wouldn’t like it, but on the contrary, I really enjoyed it! I fell in love with the cafes, the fresh croissants and the gardens! I can understand why it took you so long to go to the Eiffel Tower but if you had to see it, I’m glad you saw it at night because I think that is when its the prettiest!

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  4. I also hated my first visit to Paris, for it was super crowded and overrated to its very core. But I would surely like to revisit this city someday to really try and enjoy it through a different time period (:

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  5. Happy New Year Arielle, and I wish you many more great adventures in 2018. (More reading and vicarious travels for me). About Paris, any place with a language barrier can be intimidating. Growing up just outside of NYC, I’ve seen the best and worst a big city has to offer, and for Paris, like New York, you sometimes need to get off the beaten path. I especially appreciated the little parks, gardens and fountains I found throughout Paris, with the thoughtfully placed benches and/or lawn chairs. Still, those landmarks are great for a reason and the Eiffel Tower, to me seemed to be on a perfect scale to serve either as the center of focus, or as a backdrop for other activities and events. I visited it on a quiet Sunday morning in early September, when the beautiful lawn was still green and there were still many blooms in the flower gardens. Some leaves had already changed color and fallen, and I saw families picnicking, kids playing soccer, and tourists like me just leisurely strolling around or sitting on benches taking in the scene. During other visits, I saw wedding parties taking photos, a corporate-sponsored wellness event, beauty pageant contestants taken photos outside of a limo, a big screen simulcast of the World Cup rugby championship, and read your post chronicling the Women’s March you participated in early last year. During my first visit I wanted to view the Tower at night and walked several miles from my hotel. I followed many unfamiliar twists and with a final turn, stumbled upon it as it revealed itself in all its lighted glory. Recently, I had the same experience in lower Manhattan while visiting the 9/11 memorial; I turned the corner from St. Paul’s Chapel and was staring at the Freedom Tower. As someone who loves to walk, Paris is a very inviting city.

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