You know how everybody sobs uncontrollably during the first 15 minutes of the movie "Up" or the ending of "Titanic"? Well, that also happens to me when I watch the opening scene of "Midnight in Paris".
My name is Courtney, and I am a Francophile.
This past Friday morning on my way to Istanbul, I had a layover in Paris. I don't usually get too excited about layovers, especially when I'm half asleep thanks to my 4 am wakeup call, but upon flying over the City of Light I couldn't help but feel some pretty intense heart sparkles. (You know, like butterflies in your stomach, but sparkles in your heart.)
As we soared over the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, I felt the slightest hint of temptation to ditch my connecting flight to Turkey and spend the weekend traipsing through the first city I ever loved. (But that obviously would have been a terrible idea, especially considering how amazing Istanbul was. I know better than to make any important decisions before two cups of coffee. But I digress.)
Although I last visited Paris in September 2013, I fear that one year is just too long to stay away. With my face plastered to the airplane window and my eyes tearing up from joy, I realized that my soul desperately needs another trip to Paris. Stat.
Back in 2010 when I was studying abroad in the south of Spain, I took a spontaneous trip to Paris over Easter because I knew I would be a fool to fly all the way to Europe and not visit the city I had been fantasizing about since I was a little girl. Visiting France had been a dream and obsession of mine since I could remember; even my bedroom was decorated with a Parisian theme. Needless to say, the minute I set foot on the cobblestone streets of the Left Bank I fell head over heels in love.
My infatuation with Paris intensified when I lived there during the summer of 2011. Technically I was there to study Surrealist art and literature, but really I was there to bask in the magic of the city. While I learned my fair share about André Breton and his crew of offbeat surrealists, I spent most of my time eating macarons from Ladurée, frolicking through the Luxembourg Gardens, practicing my broken French in charming cafés, and wandering aimlessly through my favorite museums.
When I visited Paris last September for the third time, I wasn't too keen on spending my time powering through endless hours of sightseeing. Rather, I spent my days leisurely exploring, strolling through the rainy streets, snacking on macarons in the Tuileries, and channeling my inner Hemingway at sidewalk cafés. When I needed a change of pace from sipping wine at Les Deux Magots and indulging on delicious (but seriously overpriced) hot chocolate from Angelina's, I let myself get lost in a sea of impressionism at the Musée de l'Orangerie and the Musée d'Orsay for hours on end.
As cliché as it may sound, sometimes I feel like my soul belongs in Paris. (So naturally, I live in Madrid...?) But being in Paris feels so right, as if the entire universe aligns as soon as I arrive. No other city has made me feel so effortlessly fulfilled by the surrounding art, culture and beauty. The joie de vivre is contagious there - and oh, how I miss it.
I suppose you could take a wild guess as to where I'll be planning my next trip...