Paris is Where Magic Happens

Three weeks ago, I boarded a plane at Boston Logan Airport, wishing to cram a lifetime of adventures into one semester of stay in Paris. Like probably everyone else here with me, I have imagined, researched and thought about Paris intensively and extensively before embarking on this journey. However, after three weeks of stay in this glamorous French capital, it has dawned on me that nothing quite compares to the excitement of living in the City of Love.

As an English major, my very first literary obsessions with Paris started with Ernest Hemingway’s famous quote: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you. For Paris is a movable feast.” My infatuation with Hemingway’s sentimental wisdom was only reinforced later by Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris. With such romantic visions of the intellectual scenes in Paris, my heart literally took a leap when I first strolled across the cafes in Saint Germain des Prés. The café terrace is made up of petit and delicate coffee tables facing to the street. This unique structure is a distinctive touch of European feel to me. No words can summarize its atmosphere quite as well as the brilliant French writer Emilie Zola’s description of the café scene as the “great silent crowd.” In fact, what really sends adrenaline to one’s body is to be part of this silent crowd by ordering a small cup of espresso and setting down to writing in one’s well-bound journal.

During one of API’s organized tours of the Rodin Museum, I sat down in a café situated in a typically geometric French garden within the museum and ordered a cup of coffee and a bottle of water to quench my thirst. With no previous intention in mind, inspiration, gratitude and an awareness of beauty took hold of me and prompted me to open my notebook to write. I vividly remember feeling grateful at the time due to a sudden seize of thought that one doesn’t even need to seek beauty in Paris, for beauty is all around here, all-encompassing and nurturing.

Nevertheless, even though we are constantly surrounded by all this beauty, culture and history in Paris, it is sometimes easy to forget about the magic and charm of this city as one settles down to a daily routine. Therefore, what I want for myself during the next few months of stay here is to explore Paris both as an immensely curious tourist who wants to absorb everything and as a savvy Parisian who knows where to go for the authentic local experience. Of course, it will not be a piece of cake to keep up with the fast pace of the urban pulse while trying to explore something new every single day. But we only study abroad once and the magical Paris is well worth our efforts!

La Tour Eiffel

La Tour Eiffel at night

At Musee Rodin

At Le Musee Gourmand Du Chocolat

Vicky Huang is a student at Colby-Sawyer College and an official API Student Blogger. Vicky is studying abroad with API in Paris, France.

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