A city synonymous with romance, cabarets and strolls along the Seine.
The Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Notre Dame.
Michelin-starred restaurants, oenophiles and haute cuisine.
Unlike my weak poetic structure, these landmarks and iconic bits of French culture have been influencing the world for centuries. Real life adventures and romanticized versions of this fashion, food and love symbol of the modern world have created an affinity towards France’s capital for many travelers. There is that special something in the ‘City of Light’.
Hastily, a week after my first visit to Paris those same amber-hued lights flickered for a brief moment. As lovers were taking in the night air, families were dining at their favorite brasseries and entertainment aficionados were enjoying a concert or a football match, one terrible act, in an instant, changed the course of their lives forever. But only for a brief moment. You see, the strength of an incredibly diverse Parisian landscape may have been battle-tested, it may have been targeted as a site for hatred, but it would not be held victim to terror. The French and international brethren across the globe would not let this global threat succeed in diminishing this masterful metropolis’ spirits.
I was conflicted as to how I wanted to write this post. Would it be a tribute to such a wonderful city? Or to the people whose lives were forever changed that Friday evening? Maybe I could voice my anger and disgust for those being held responsible?
We all had an opinion after the news unfolded in front of our eyes real-time via our cell phones, tablets and computers. Many of us having only dreamed of one day embracing this city, strolling along the cobblestone streets, retracing footsteps of other Francophiles. I was so very fortunate to share some incredible experiences with some incredible people a week before those terrible acts.
That is why I want to use this post as a reminder that if you dream of traveling, embracing a city or culture for the romanticized versions of what you seek, do not be afraid to chase those dreams. However, try to always remember the purity, the good. Remember that this world is beautiful. Nothing should stop of us from demonstrating our fervor by willingly enjoying the finer things in life with the finest people we know. No matter if that means sipping wine on a sunny day in front of the Eiffel Tower, listening to jazz albums on repeat, or simply having a Skype conversation with loved ones.
Paris taught us all a lesson we need not forget.