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Rain in Paris

I have a special relationship with Paris.  It was our first trip to Europe.  We were penniless; barely making enough money to afford basic necessities and pay off the student debts.  With our family income statement’s bottom line deep in the red, we traveled on a credit card.   That’s the beauty of being young; you just do what you feel like and don’t give a damn.

We stayed in the tiny attic room in the boutique hotel on St. Germain (the left bank of Seine) -the cheapest we could find in the center of the city.  There was no space for the breakfast area; so, every morning we had two cups filled with a steaming hot chocolate and a platter of fresh croissants with butter and jelly delivered to our room.   This was the most delicious way to start the day.

We woke up pretty late by New York standards; yet, the streets were mostly deserted with the giant trucks shampooing the paved roads and a few Parisians seating outside, nursing their espressos in the tiniest cups for the longest time, reading a daily newspaper or a book.    It was unclear what was taking them so long; I could have swallowed it in one sip.  Also, didn’t people have to go to work?

We walked until lunch, then had a nice long, never-ending meal, then walked again.  No money had its benefits.  We would never see so much, explore the city so thoroughly, submerge into its unique atmosphere if we took cabs or a public transportation.  After we’ve seen everything we wanted on the left bank, we crossed the bridge to the right – to Champs de Elysses, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame.

I don’t remember much from this trip; just the snapshots from my memory: sitting on the bench in the park feeling the warm sun caressing my back, checking out then buying some art on Montmartre, kids racing their toy boats in the fountain, the smell of the fresh- baked bread, la fromage  with wine.  There were museums, art galleries, sightseeing of the most gorgeous countryside, Versailles and Champagne.  I wish I would take some notes, do a scrap book, but all I have is a stack of photos made by our cheap camera; and I am not even sure where I put them.  Back then it did not seem important.

Every time I see pictures of Paris, it brings a bitter-sweet sense of nostalgia.

In my opinion, the photos below capture the city quite well.

The feature image and the first two pictures are by Christophe Jacrot, the last two – the photographer is unknown.

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