When you find yourself living in a part of the world that isn’t exactly busting at the seams with Christmas, you cannot wait to get to a place that has a holiday feeling. I had never been to Paris before this trip. As a New Yorker, I’ve always felt the need to come to this city. Now I was finally getting my chance.
I was reminded a lot of New York from the moment we exited our plane at the airport in Paris. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but it wasn’t particularly warm either. A feeling I have come to love thanks to JFK. As we approached our cab to take us from the airport and into the city, I became transported back to my hometown. Aside from the cold weather, our taxi driver had jazz music on. One of my favorite things to do was to drive into New York City listening to very much the same type of music. That or Frank Sinatra. I always felt like I was trying to recreate a Cadillac commercial or something, but I digress. The streets that we drove down were dark and damp looking. The portions of the highway that had walls to cut down on the sound heard by the homes behind them were littered with graffiti.
Our first day in the city I was expecting to feel this energy; I didn’t. The one thing that I will say about Paris is that you have to ease your way into it. It doesn’t give you all of the feelings you’re looking for immediately; there is a grace period. I admire that about this city.
Our daytime activities have very much so been your typical Paris tourist adventures. The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and D’Orsay just to name a few. At night, the city explodes with energy and light. It is almost as if the city sleeps all day and wakes up at night. Streets that seemed to be asleep during the day get filled with outdoor tables and chairs. Heaters get turned on full blast so that you can sit outside and enjoy your evening; even in December. Fashion never sleeps here which also reminds me of home. One of the things I have found myself missing the most about living in the Middle East is fashion. Getting dressed up to go to McDonald’s mentality.
While Christmas is clearly here, the city also eases itself into the holidays. You don’t see everything decorated to the nines with decorations. The places that you least expect to see things, you do. Restaurants and cafes subtly decorated with small touches in the form of little real evergreen trees. This same elegance transcends throughout the city.
While I still maintain that there is no place like New York (I doubt any New Yorker will ever say otherwise) Paris has woken up a part of me that has been asleep for over a year. The best part? We’re only halfway through our time here. Stay tuned…