Paris is a place that keeps people curious.
This, mainly, is because of the little things, or as my advisor likes to call them, “the small victories”. Ordering un pain au chocolat without being answered in English, not making any eye contact on the Metro, and even getting into my apartment without frustratingly shaking the door enough to wake up the entire neighborhood. It’s ces petites victoires that keep people foreign to Paris wanting to see more, to do more, and to find more.
In the short three days that I’ve been in the city, I have been, by far, the most curious form of myself. On the first night, myself and other CEA students, heavily bogged down by jet-lag and feeling like we’ve dressed only in drowsiness, refused the idea of sleep. We were introduced to our school and administration with crêpes and cider, and we chatted with one another, being heavily reminisced of the first week of our freshman years of college where, well, everyone seems to be friends with everyone.
Inevitably, we found ourselves broken off into smaller groups, doe-eyed and curious. It’s no question we looked absolutely ridiculous, and absolutely American. No amount of black clothing to blend in could cover our horrible pronunciations that were being compared to the perfect francophone coming at us from every angle.
But, we continued on, taking in everything. The smell of the boulangeries, the architecture of almost every building, and the overwhelming feeling that everything around us was being illuminated.
In between the logistics of the next few days, including orientation of health and safety, class schedules, and setting up International phone plans, we found ourselves with plenty of time to try some of the food the city had to offer. Our first days were filled with caprese salad, fromage et vin, salmon and risotto, ham and cheese crêpes, pesto pasta, and of course, espresso, espresso, and more espresso.
Outside of the food, the friends, and the landmarks, Paris has the incredible ability to keep drawing you in. If you take the Metro to Alésia, you wonder what’s at Châtelet. If you round the corner to find a humble piece of street art, a seemingly immaculate portrayal of a small family in silhouette, you want to find another off your route. But, what really makes you wonder where you are (and exactly how lucky you are to be there) is anytime you look up– To the top of the buildings laced with stone etchings and marble faces, up to the illumination from the light at the Eiffel Tower being painted on the neighbor’s terrance, and up to one of the only skies that can make the onset of rain something you look forward to.