An Ode to Paris
Some of the greatest love stories can happen when you least expect it. When I first traveled to Paris at 16, I never knew how deeply I would fall for a place, especially since my family had moved the year prior to a rural town in southern Vermont and my feelings were not the same, to put it lightly. Prior I had never traveled to Europe but upon stepping foot, I was immediately entranced by my surroundings. I reveled in the lilac tinged light that seemed to glow from the marble sidewalks and the low hanging clouds that looked like they were out of a painting; the baguettes artfully arranged in troughs; the laidback ambiance of café life and the architecture, they all deeply spoke to me. I said to myself on that plane ride back, I’ll be coming back here to live one day.
As with all intentions if you put them at the forefront of your mind they can come to fruition. One hot summer, at the age of 21, I found myself back on a plane, this time to stay longer than two weeks; I’d be assimilating into Parisian life for almost six months as a student. My time spent in Paris was pure magic. If a seed was planted years prior, the love story went from smitten to a full-blown love affair. I’d walk the same streets on my way to classes (I studied at the American University of Paris and the Sorbonne) feeling like each time was the first time. The grand doors on Rue de Grenelle, the sculpted hedges in the Luxembourg Gardens, the grand boulevards, all of it. I knew at that moment how fortunate I was to get to experience such a place at such a formative age.
While my view of Paris is nothing that you haven't seen before, I find myself always going back to the places that make me feel the magic of the city -- the Louvre, Palais Royal, Luxembourg Gardens, the Grand Boulevards, because one thing about Paris is that you can make it your own.
Photography by Alison Engstrom