A Passion for Paris: A Place of Destiny
We are reaching the end of my two guest post series, A Passion for Paris and Beyond Paris. I had a fabulous time working with all the bloggers who graciously contributed posts for the series. It is just another example of the generosity that exists out there within the blogging community.
For the last Passion for Paris post, I would like to introduce Kasia Dietz from Love in the City of Lights. I can't think of a better person to close this series with. As you will see when you read Kasia's story sometimes it takes time to realize your passion, but it is always, always worth holding onto!
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My love affair with Paris began at the age of 7, many years before I knew anything on the subject of love. I listened to my father describe, in such melodic detail, a city in which writers found refuge, artists found inspiration and dreamers found a home. Somehow I knew that one day I too would succumb to its lure. Even then, I was a romantic.
My first encounter with Paris was not until my university studies found me in London. With great anticipation, I took myself on a weekend escape to ‘The City of Lights’. Thankfully, I knew early enough in life that it was not prince charming who created the fairytale but ourselves. Though perhaps he was waiting for me across the English Channel.
Upon entering the scene, I fell in love. The centuries-old architecture illuminated by antique street lamps, the blue and pink hues of an incomparable sky, and the many bridges, each telling a unique story as they transport you from one bank to another. All of this combined to create a mood of timeless enchantment.
Those few days in Paris felt much like stepping onto a stage, set from another era. I became lost amidst a tangle of cobbled streets, indulged in many a café crème, and sat for hours in mindful euphoria. Aside from my permanent grin and a lack of French vocabulary, I could have passed for a local. But it was not my time, I was not the star of this performance. Not yet.
My ‘adult’ life commenced and NYC became my home. I held on to my visions of Paris, confident that I would find my way back. I began a career in advertising, made close friends, gained professional experience, and reveled in my independence.
One such friend became very dear to me. She too happened to be a Francophile, having both lived and loved in Paris in the past. Immediately we began to plot ‘Operation: Pick Up and Move to Paris’, logically of course. We were prepared to put our careers on hold and reduce ourselves to working in a café or perhaps teaching English.
I’m not certain whether it was the difficulty of abandoning the corporate ladder or whether a new love had deterred our attention. Needless to say, we never made it to Paris.
It was several years and promotions later that Paris reappeared. I was by this time working at an international advertising agency, living the Madison Avenue dream. By complete chance, I met a Parisian girl who happened to be my counterpart in our Paris office.
We got along famously and almost immediately discussed the possibility of exchanging positions in our respective cities. ‘Operation: NYC-Paris Swap’ was put into motion. It seemed the perfect plan until her job situation, simply put, fell apart. Perhaps this was a sign that I was not yet meant to cross the sea.
During my tenth year as a New Yorker, I became much more curious about life in the rest of the world. With little more than a grand appetite for travel and discovery, I packed a bag, bid farewell to the life I had known, and began my greatest journey, to date. Thirteen months were spent exploring 32 countries. France of course, being one of them.
Within my ambitious travel itinerary, I allowed myself the luxury of spending one month in ‘The City of Lights’. Perhaps now my passion for this city would finally be satisfied, I would find a home and the journey of a thousand days (400 to be exact) would come to an end. I would become a Parisian.
Alas, that was not the case. Mostly because it’s impossible to become Parisian, especially for someone of my foreign stature. And to be honest, during this, my seventh trip to Paris, I did not care to. I began to see the city in the light of reality, versus the enticing glow in which it had previously shined.
I was not disenchanted, that would have been impossible, but I began to look at Paris as someone from within. I began to notice the social and cultural complexities as well as the formality of the people. I began to see Paris as real. My relationship had finally become intimate. The seduction ended but the love affair continued.
My life resumed in NYC, much richer and more insightful than prior to traveling. I became newly inspired by all things French. I took cooking classes to better understand this highly-revered kitchen and resumed my language studies. The stage was being set.
And then, one day on my way to yoga on an early Spring evening, the entire path of my life became clear. It appeared in the form of a handsome green-eyed Italian. (But shouldn’t he be French? No, that would be too easy.) Smiles were exchanged, followed by words, followed by a drink, dinner, and a promise to return. After all, he lived in Paris.
It took six weeks to fall in love, though who was counting, and another three months to move to Paris. The heart had decided and the head followed suit. I had met the most passionate man of my life and he lived in the most romantic city in the world. Was there even a question?
I am now living what I often considered to be my destiny. It was just a matter of time. I do believe there exists a place in which we feel most ourselves, where our souls can take flight. For me this place is Paris. Not without difficulties, but the myriad of pleasures outweighs the pains.
The richness in the culture is undeniable, ever present in the historic sights that line the streets, the enchanting gardens waiting to be discovered, the neighborhood markets displaying regional specialties, and the numerous art exhibitions, music, and film festivals. I could go on.
To live in Paris is to live within a composition of perpetual charm and beauty. Am I over-romanticizing? Yes indeed, but this is the city of romance, and I am in love.
Such a beautiful post. I love reading both your blogs!
We should all be so lucky to experience such a dazzling love affair at least once in our lives. Have been to Paris twice, but it was many years ago. You make me long for a return visit — pronto! 😉
I can’t help but to be jealous! Wow, wow, wow. I hope Paris is my destiny too.
C’est vraiment joli et romatique Paris :-] .. j’y etais durant 2 mois pour mon stage. Lieux magnifique; inedite!
sympa votre blog ^_^ !
@LostWanderer, merci, c’est sympa en votre part 😉
Oh my gosh, I LOVED this post!!! What a fantastic story–please turn it into a book! 🙂
PS Your outfit is absolutely fabulous.
What a lovely story, and Kasia has a wonderful blog! I’m so happy she is a part of your series. She is a delightful soul with a delightful story.
One teensy, tiny thing, though, that I want to address, and it is maybe best done by another author, on the site Bonjour Paris: Lights Out in Paris, by Ronald Holden. In French, Paris’ nickname is La Ville Lumière, The City of Light, singular.
Maybe it is too nitpicky, but I like the way the author says that this nickname for Paris is representative of Paris being full of light, as in her role in the Enlightenment, as in daylight, as in its open vistas that allow the sunset to be viewed in a world class city that is not full of skyscrapers. The name is not, not completely anyway, for Paris’ street lights. Holden says “City of Lights” is a good nickname for Las Vegas, not Paris. I read on Wikipedia that street lights were readily adopted in Paris during the Hausmann era, and some feel the moniker represents Paris’ street lights as well, but Holden is quick to point out that a French person would never use the plural form, lumières to refer to the city.
It’s a *super* common error, and I feel like kind of a schmutz for even bringing it up, and it is NOT a criticism of Kasia’s beautiful blog and writing — I am *not* the kind of girl to play dirty or nasty or anything like that, ever. But after learning that it is La Ville Lumière in French, and why this is so, a big light bulb went off in my head (ah ha! LOL), I recognized the beauty in the expression “City of Light,” and it has become a bit of a peeve of mine when I read the incorrect version. I just wanted to spread the news about the form of the expression that is most common in French and in France.
If you feel it is too picky of me to mention, just tell me to stuff it, LOL. 😀
@Karin, I am certainly not insulted by your comments, I love the care you take in sharing information, history, stories. I loved what you shared!
P.S. And again, just to re-emphasize it (I am feeling really guilty for even bringing the above up…), Kasia’s story is gorgeous, her beliefs about life very beautiful, and I in no way want to detract from the loveliness that is her writing here and her story of how she came to have a passion for Paris. 🙂
Whew. Well thank you! 🙂 My biggest fear was coming across as a “Paris Snob” which makes me shudder. So glad to know it did not come across like that.
But I do know there are “Paris Snobs” out there who could really make an issue of Kasia’s use of the plural, and I don’t want someone as nice as she seems to have to be inflicted with any of their snobbishness. So I thought I would give a “heads up” here.
@Karin, isn’t it more “enlightened” to allow someone to have their own interpretation of the expression 😉 snobs be damned 😉