The Salt

The Salt

Paris, You Heartbreaker...

This week our French and International editors share their disparate relationships with Paris. One a story just beginning, another that of a Parisian born and bred, and the third a tale of great love, and a heart split between two continents.


LUCY



My name’s Lucy, and I’m the editor of The French Way. In 2013, I studied abroad for a semester in Paris. I fell in love with a Frenchman. We came from opposite sides of the planet, and I still had 6 months left of my degree waiting for me back in Australia. So, unsure of the future, and with great pain, we parted ways. On the journey home, I found myself stranded at the airport in Doha for 24 hours and wrote him the letter published below.

Last week we celebrated our 4 year anniversary together in Paris.



A letter from Doha.

There are certain periods in your life by which you become aware that everything that is to follow will be measured by. My life in Paris was such a time.

A fabulous adventure abroad should not fill one with weighty nostalgia. Rather, a journey far away from home should embolden one with a lofty sense of possibility. For surely there can be nothing more reassuring than to make somewhere so iconic your home. Paris isn’t going anywhere, and I will be back.

I’ve left two great loves. To you Paris, the city of my childish imagination- you were fabulous. I tried to be. Until we meet again; Paris, je t'aime. The other sat next to me in the taxi as we drove towards the airport. I extended my trip to stay with a man I barely knew. In the 3 weeks that followed we fell in love.

The joy of living in Paris? It is never truly a reality. The sensation just dulls, only to re-emerge, an like an unexpected and welcome embrace, deep in the night. Some nights I walked home, infused with a warm, red wine glow, and thought- ‘I am in Paris, and it means more than I can feel’.  Under my weary feet, the same cobbled-stones that my idols, too, once stumbled home upon. The same precarious short cuts, through dark alleyways, brought to their fabulous grandeur by scarce, warm street lamps. On a winter’s evening in Paris, Haussmann’s creations lean into caress you, a beautiful, chaotic mess. 

You moved something inside me and my impression of life, and it is things will never be quite the same now. Since I was a child I have loved you and now I have lived you. You filled me with an unshakeable ecstasy and passion, I will work out what for eventually.

Until we meet again.

Lucy

MARINE

Marine, our French editor, may be our newest team member, but Paris runs in her blood. Born in the 18th arrondisment, Marine is a truly native Parisianne. 

I’ve always known Paris.

I remember walking through Saint-Lazare, the arrondissement of my childhood, admiring the Christmas windows of the department stores. I think of my mother, dutifully taking me to the Louvre to attend special history classes. Those first nights of elated freedom in nightclubs around the Champs Elysees, and of course my first loves.

Today, I'm in love with the grand fireplaces and parquet floors that creak inside the old Haussmann buildings. I eat a chocolate cake every morning, checking the weather. On Sunday, I love to brunch, then take a walk around the Saint-Ouen flea market, it's right next to my home and I dream of buying beautiful vintage furniture. I also try to regularly attend contemporary and classical ballets at the Opera Garnier, a place so magical that I can’t help but be swept away by the romance. As soon as it starts to get cold each year, I go to museums or cinemas again. I love to host dinner at home as well. There’s something incredibly intimate and cosy about crowding into a small apartment with your friends, lighting candles, opening the windows to smoke, smells of cooking and conversation floating out onto the streets...

Even if I live and spend most of my time on the right bank, when I cross the Seine, I’m always charmed by the small cobblestone streets, or a shady square that I didn’t not know existed. I realize that I so lucky to have been born in this city, surrounded by so much culture and beauty. To live amongst this grandeur on a daily basis.

I hope to never know Paris by heart, and I’m sure that the city will always continues to surprise me ... "

TAYLOR

Taylor is our wildly brave American International Art Director, who moved to Paris in July, not speaking a word of French and not knowing a soul. Her relationship with Paris has just begun...



To me, there are two Paris’.  The Paris of great romanticism. A Paris in black and white, flickering lights, and an underground of endless inspiration and cool (I mean, hello Serge and Jane…).  A city that I hope will adopt me, show me her ways, and take me in.  A city everyone dreams of moving to, and that I was lucky enough to get to… A city that’s the backdrop to some of the greatest stories ever told…  And then there’s the Paris of everyday life.  The Paris I’m trying to make my home.  A city, just like any other, where I go to work, run errands, and exist.  A city where I miss my friends and family in New York.  A city with subway delays, and long lines at the grocery store. A city where I’m trying to establish a routine. A city where maybe I’ll meet someone and start a life together. A city where I may spend the rest of my life, or perhaps only be a temporary visitor. A place, just like any other in the world.

A summer in Paris is everything you’d imagine it to be… lazy, lush, and slow. Long Saturday strolls in the Jardin des Touleries, and reading fountain-side at Palais Royal…  For me, it was a summer of starting over… leaving behind New York and opening my mind to the idea that perhaps I might make Paris my permanent home.  It was a summer of excitement, joy, confusion (learning French is harder than I ever imagined) and such extreme homesickness, the weight of which, at times, felt (feels) crushing. Right now, my relationship with Paris is complicated.  We’re in that early, sometimes exciting and intoxicating, at other times bewildering phase of seeing just how well suited we are for each other.  Anyone’s natural response when presented with the idea of moving to Paris is “but of course, what a dream!” But now I have to take a step back from all that… take off the rose colored glasses, and turn off “La Vie en Rose” in my headphones.   To look past the Paris of the imagination and idyllic scenarios to see if it’s actually the right place for me…

My journey in Paris is just beginning.  I spend my days working at Rue Saint Fiacre, but my nights are usually spent going on long walks alone… a lengthy playlist of songs, (iPhone) camera in hand,  and and no particular direction in mind. I process my days and allow Paris to reveal herself to me.  However good or bad my day is, each night I fall a little bit more in love with this place, and I’m able to see a future here more clearly…. It may not all be the city of croissants and motorbikes or timed sprints through the Louvre and whirlwind romances, but with each week that passes, I can feel Paris becoming not just a city of dreams, but a city I call home. ;)