Postscript from Paris

Paris reminds us that the word, "grandeur" is a gift from the French. The grandeur and scale of Paris is intimidating, but the genius of Paris is how the public and breathtakingly ornate can be brought down to a more humane scale through the sensual: intimate brasseries and cafes and ancient alleys, park benches and blankets on the grass with good bread from a boulangerie, a fragrant cheese nosed out of a local shop, and champagne. Always champagne. One can hear them popped throughout the parks as people tend to their food and books and kisses.

The women have a sterner beauty that begins with posture and the knack for never letting anything be simple. She is not merely pretty (and never "cute"), but something more complex, a complexity that defines elegance. She is at once delicate and formidable like one of those iconic Eugene Atget photographs. 

She is an ideal in our imagination, a layering of history and art and thought. How can she be anything else raised in such a city? How do we aspire to this ideal in our own lives, wherever we live? I unpack a new version of myself, or at least a version of my best self, a best self that has been there all the time. My feet are blistered, and it has taken a few days to shake off the jet lag, but every night I have dreamt of Paris. I have brought it home. 

Eugene Atget
I purchased some tiny gold bracelets for myself (I love these two and three at a time on my wrist), as well as for gifts for family and friends. I bought a couple of dresses from one of my favorite Paris boutiques, Make my D... on 7 rue la Vieuville, in the Montmarte neighborhood of Paris and a simple linen summer dress from Tera Bora on the Right Bank. 

Dragging luggage on trains, buses, trams, metros, and airplanes discourages a lot of buying, but a woman cannot leave Paris without something
The Lourve

And, of course, what we really bring back is a version of ourselves, a wealth of ideas inspired by art and food and a renewed commitment to joie de vivre

Postscript: When I want to revisit Paris, one of the ways I do it is Paris Daily Photo. Besides the usual guides to the streets of Paris (I use the current Rick Steves guidebook), I recommend The Invention of Paris by Eric Hazen and John Russell's Paris for a guide to the soul of Paris.  

Oh, and let us not forget Balzac.

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