I never quite know how to write about Paris because I love it so much. I love it so much that I can’t bear hearing other Americans say that they LOVE IT SO MUCH. Because of course there are so many Americans here and I actually don’t love them so much. So many school groups of so many teenagers, so much chattering in the metro. Chattering about Orangina, about Nutella crepes, about that “weird homeless guy who was like so weird,” about this “random old lady who just started talking to me in French” and how “I so don’t speak French” (even though I had three years of it in high school), and how they can’t find Tanner, and how McKenzie is being “such a bitch”, how they had a crois-ONT this morning and “Oh my God it was A-MAZING.”
I have a lingering dislike, voire despise, for these school groups–funny that my first coup de coeur with the City of Light was in one of them. I hated that group. I remember waking up every morning on that trip and slipping out of the hotel room at 6 am, roaming the quiet boulevards with my guidebook, studying the street sellers laying out their wares, the mimes caking on their makeup, taking notes on the pigeons, the fountains, the taxi drivers. I only had to slip into the hotel breakfast by 8:30– the chaperones never knew I was gone, or maybe there was one who did and she never uttered a word. There was one snooty girl in the group from a New England boarding school who grew up spending summers in her family’s pied-a-terre in the 16th. While all of the others were suburban white kids like me with disposable cameras and Birkenstocks who shuffled around buying stuff and talking about nothing, she met up with her Parisian boyfriend in the Marais and went to exhibitions at all of the museums that were not the Louvre. Eleven years later, I am that snooty boarding school girl living in the 16th with my Amsterdam boyfriend, working at the Sorbonne, going to all of the museums that are not the Louvre.
More to come on the exhibitions I’ve seen lately.
You can read more about my work at the Sorbonne this summer HERE.