Friday, 29 July 2011

There Is Only Light

So as you might have guessed from the pictures this week, we were in Paris and we actually went with my parents. Mom had really wanted to see Paris, and Dan and I shrugged our shoulders and decided to tag along with Mom and Dad even though we'd been there on our honeymoon in 2009.

Was it too soon to return? Well, I'm fairly certain that no one is going to be lying on their deathbed gasping that they've been to Paris too much. At least no one I want to know. So yes, we visited that great city again and it wasn't too soon.

Turning a corner and unexpectedly looking up to see the sky being dominated by that infamous iron giant doesn't get old. Initially when you see it, it's almost a burden upon your senses, how loudly the steel twists before you, refusing to let you look anywhere else. But the more I stare, the easier it becomes for me to accept Monsieur Eiffel's creation as something quite delicate; a tower of caramelized sugar that's been spun. Sitting within the folds of its expansive arms, on a bench at dusk, feels like being at the center of a heartbeat.

It's completely unique.

Well, unless of course you are maybe one of the dozen or more travellers I overheard commenting: "It just looks like the one in Las Vegas, except this one's bigger."

But I don't have a lot of stories about Paris. The city just has its own voice that is louder than mine. Which is not to say stories aren't to be had, but it's really more fragments of a conversation.

It was in Versailles that I tripped on a cobblestone, and as I felt myself falling face first to the ground, I couldn't decide if I was going to protect my teeth or my camera. I opted for my teeth and my lens cracked. I spent twenty minutes in agonizing despair, until I realized that when I had bought that lens, the sales girl convinced me to shell out even more money to buy a protective filter.

Fifteen minutes later I was flagging down some men who were face-lifting Versailles' facade, and we were all rummaging through their tool box, English and French respectively flying, looking for something that would allow me to pop the damaged filter from the lens. It popped. We all laughed. The lens was fine. A story to be told. Hand shakes and hugs to these two men who have no idea the great favour they did for me.

Likewise, a rat in the metro scampering ahead of me. Running to catch its sewer drain. Gross, but also funny.

The flu my dad came down with that was so bad, he spent 98% of our time in Paris, confined to his bed at the hotel.

The smell of hot urine, wafting up from the underground.

Loud nights at cafes.


A steak. Cooked to perfection. It's juices running all over my plate as I, like a carnivore, soaked my baguette in those flavourful drippings to greedily devour every last morsel.


Accordion music.

Cathedrals, but mostly their gardens.

Trinket sellers and peddlers of roses.

Sunsets on the Seine.

Boat dwellers.

Glass pyramids.


Salted caramels.

More red wine.

A bridge of locked hearts. The keys tossed away.

Shakespeare & Company.

Pistachio ice cream.

Early mornings at cafes.

Espresso; chocolate croissants; eggs.

Vendors who bustle and banter in the early morning light, drawing up awnings and opening their neighbourhoods.

Flower markets; vegetable markets; fruit stands; cheese stands; sometimes the smell of the ocean rolling in with the fish merchants; always the smell of bakery air.

And at the centre of it all, muffling your stories, is the beat of the city.

You are here. You are here. You are here.


There is only light.


Habebi said...

What a perfect description of Paris. It is overwhelming and yet I found it so calming all at the same time. The sights, sounds, tastes... it's just like you described. I almost felt transported there for a moment.

I'm glad your lens wasn't gravely injured! I had to buy a new lens for my SLR... ouch. Thank God for!

Oh ps- Did you know they wanted to tear the Eiffel Tower down after the World Expo was over? They saw it as obtrusive and not that lovely to look at. Then they realized it was an attraction and brought in revenue, so, they decided to keep it around. Gotta love the French!

mom said...

Lovely Cait! I think I will want to go back but at a different time of year. Everytime I look at my wrist, I remember our trip, with my exceptional find :-))