C'est La Vie-An open Letter

13 November 2019

Dear Nobody and Somebody,

I am writing this letter from the comfort of my sofa after arriving back safely. It was never my outright intention to be in Paris and I had mentioned the city in wistful abandonment to my mother never thinking I would go. Paris was not somewhere I had ached to visit but at least it had my curiosity, and so one day whilst lazily discussing future plans in the cafeteria with my colleague I was intrigued by her trip and decided it would be my coming of age trip. I decided it would be a nice place to celebrate my 19th Birthday.

I went alone.

I needed my own headspace, there was clutter up in my head, my brain was like an attic with memories and thoughts gathering dust, inspiration had dulled and died, no one was going up regularly to clean it out and get the gears grinding. The clutter accumulated because I thought for anyone and everyone, but I hardly thought for myself. I never really knew how to be selfish and I never really knew exactly who I was. What did I feel and think like with the clutter of the world around me heavily influencing me? That why I was adamant on booking the trip by myself. I didn't want to hesitate anymore I wanted to be inspired and free. 

Paris is a romantic city although I did not find pleasure in the massive grandeur of Paris but rather the subtle things that are woven into the Parisian lifestyle. Paris was a city of leisure, unlike the purposeful rush and productive hum of London, the people of Paris were never in quite the same hurry, taking things at a pace, steady like a heartbeat. There was something delightful about an elderly lady descending into the metro with posies peaking out her handbag, or how at 9 am on the dot every day a rich homely smell of coffee drifted into my hotel room warning me if I didn't wake up soon I would miss breakfast. 

Parisians live to experience life, lounging parks with pastries in hand most would mumble under their breaths to a friend or partner over a steaming coffee at a cafe, sometimes they would glance at those walking by and continue where they left off. I remembered quite vividly during my trip sitting opposite to elderly gentlemen, one was wearing a white dress jacket and a checkered shirt and the other wearing a straw hat and a beige shirt and a loosened tie, they were in passionate conversation and I assumed they were talking about the state of the politics, it made me feel like I was an extra in a movie.

The cobbled streets seemed to trip me up when I moved too fast as if trying to humble me as if telling me I was in Paris now and I had to learn to slow down. I enjoyed standing on the platforms as the train hissed to a stop, inviting a flush of warm air. The streets were always cluttered with chairs from this or that cafe. There was always the tinkle of bicycle bells as someone zoomed past in the lime green city bikes. Lights would flicker from red to green, although the rules of traffic were mostly ignored by motorists or they seemed to follow their own rules, finding their own harmonies.

I remember sitting at the Banks of Seine by legs dangling over the edge watching The Eifle tower light up reminding  me of the story of the  tower, the people of Paris had taught it particularly ugly and an eyesore of the city, looming ominously over them, but now as I watched it sparkle and gleam against the dark blanket of the night sky. I realised that the Eifle is all of us, we just grow and realise our own Cinderella story.

Well, I hope you're well, you should visit sometime it's beautiful. I now know why writers  chose the city as their muse because it has sparked inspiration in me and I hope it does for you

Emmy xx

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