I recently made the joke to my good friend, Christina, that I’m not going to even consider the idea of marriage until I find somebody that I love more than Paris.
And as I sit here… back in the States, reflecting on my time in France this past summer, the realization has started to settle in that… it might not be so much of a joke after all.
I think Paris is different things for different people. For some, it’s where they got engaged. Or perhaps you studied abroad here in college. Some are born here. Others, reborn. I consider myself a participant of the last category.
As a disclaimer, I have to say that Paris is not a nice city. That may catch some off guard. That’s fair. But beyond the beautiful tree-lined roads, lies a harsh city. A city, trying to do damage control, after a string of violent protests and horrific terrorist attacks. Attacks which left people wondering if a visit to Paris was even “worth it”.
It was during this past trip to Paris that I found myself one night, walking in the 4th arrondissement with Ben, in front of the Hôtel de Ville. Several stories up was a sign, taped to the window.
“Je suis Charlie”, it read.
Many will remember that this phrase was spread in solidarity as a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks back in 2015. For me, the sign was more than that.
For me, it was a visual reminder of the city motto, “fluctuat nec mergitur”- a Latin phrase meaning “she is tossed by the waves, but does not sink”.
And I think that is what I love about this city the most. That over the centuries, it has overcome revolution, famine, war and terrorism. It has seen it’s fair share of disaster, and yet, you would never think of this city as damaged goods.
I think that is what I connect with most about this city, and why it has become one of the great loves of my life. Paris is a story of hope, that despite the tumultuous waves you may be encountering in life, that you can emerge even more beautiful than before.
And that, is something to write home about.