I don't believe in love at first sight.
First impressions are too often misleading and I can never accurately tell how much someone is going to end up meaning to me when I first meet them. It's hard to know all that from a first glance, you know? I mean, maybe it exists for other people, but I feel like I'm too cautious to make that sort of a snap judgment.
I'm talking about people, of course, but I'm also talking about places.
My very first sight of Paris, pulling in on the train, wasn't that spectacular. It was kind of disappointing, honestly, because I had such high expectations (the root of all heartache) and all I saw was graffiti and dull apartment buildings and I was also hungry and tired which have a lot to do with my perceptions at the time. It just seemed like...any other European city I'd been in.
But I think you know where this is going. Over the next few days, I grew to love the City of Lights. Maybe it's not like it is in the movies, but still, Paris is magic. It really is. It's full of history and stories and, just, life. It feels like the center of the world.
I mean, it's not perfect. There are times it felt so...man made, you know? Everything is cobblestones and concrete. It's beautiful and doesn't have the artificial feel you get in the suburbs or whatever, but it's like, where did the nature go? I'm used to lots of trees and creeks and dirt. The banks of the Seine are just concrete sloping into gray water and I can't imagine turtles living there. Even the parks, which were lovely, were so symmetrical and planned it almost didn't feel real.
So, yeah, it's not perfect. But you kind of have to love it anyway. It's Paris.
Sacre Coer was beautiful and had a brilliant view of the city but Montmartre was so touristy. The street walking up was crammed with vendors trying to sell souvenirs and so many people.