Just like Chez Loulou, this is Stephanie’s second appearance in this series….sort of. Last time, she was writing for the other side of the fence, for team Beyond Paris while living in Provence.
Now as a resident of the city of lights she shares her perspective and her Passion for Paris!
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I am not sure exactly when the idea of living in Paris first came to me, but somehow early on I was convinced it was to be my reality. And as anyone who wishes to move abroad can guess, I was faced with many obstacles along the way. And yet these obstacles only made me more certain that Paris was where I was meant to be.
The intrigue for France began when I was quite young. I can still see the eager little girl girl, her freckled face adorned with glasses and braces, spending afternoons at a friend’s house talking about the Eiffel Tower and traveling throughout Europe. By college I was reading books about cheese and hosting wine
parties soirées. I enjoyed reading Molière and my interest in French film grew far beyond Amélie with her fabulous destiny in Montmartre. My own destiny awaited me and it seemed only natural I begin paving the path to my life in Paris.
I remember the sentiments that accompanied my first move to Paris in 2007. My heart soared at the very mention of the Eiffel Tower and every weekend I was out visiting a different museum or checking out a restaurant in a different quartier. I remember how romantic it all seemed when I dropped my fresh oranges from the market on Rue Daguerre. They scattered across the cobbled pedestrian street, one finally stopping at the polished pointy shoes of a tall, slender Frenchman who bent to pick it up handing it back to me with a smirk. It was a scene from the movies!
I loved walking the oldest streets of Paris, imaging what little I could of the lives that had been a part of the street over the last thousand years which was now becoming a part of my life. Even after I first left to finish my degrees in the states, I liked to think a piece of me would always be wandering the Marais, camera in hand, early on a Sunday morning.
Back in the US, I began to miss other characteristics of Paris. For instance, I missed the advertisements in the metro for the latest expositions at many of Paris’ museums. I loved that the city was dedicated to keeping people informed about what was going on in the art community. And while I grew to loath the long black underground tunnels of the metro, its convenience was the first thing I missed back in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It didn’t take long before I was back on the hunt, searching for any possible opportunity to return to France.
That opportunity didn’t come until 2010 when I found a temporary job outside my field in Provence. How I loved being back in Europe and exploring another region of France! But even on my best days, I couldn’t ignore the call to return to Paris and I missed working with art. Everything started coming back together when I was accepted to a master’s program at a small French university in Paris that specializes in art-related studies.
It’s been over a year since my return. I have since retraced my steps from my first year in the City of Lights and recreated new paths throughout the city as I’ve made it my home a second time. It has taken so much hard work and dedication but it pays off. I realized recently that in only one more year I’ll have reached my early goal of spending 1/2 of my twenties in France. Will I surpass it? Well, we’ll just have to see!