Last week I spent four days in Paris, from Tuesday to Friday. Did I have the time of my life? It depends on what do you mean by that. In my opinion, I had the time of my life.
Let’s start by saying that I was almost on the verge of not going to Paris because right the day before I got a high fever, due to an unexpected strong cold, very out of the blue. Somehow I managed to feel a little better in the morning after a terrible night with headache and all the horrible pain that fever carries inside your body. In addition to that, my period arrived and my body was not having it. Still, I got my ass (pardon my French lol) on that plane and landed safely in la ville lumiere.
For the first time ever I stayed in a hotel by myself. I got a single room at the Hotel Royal Elysees. I had a queen-size bed, a cozy bathroom in marble, and a mini-fridge, along with a long desk, a mirror in front of the bed, and a water boiler – that became my go-to tool during these days, lol. Sure, it was not the super luxurious hotel anyone would like to stay in Paris, but for me this a little milestone. I’m used to staying in hostels or friends’ places, plus I live with two roommates on campus, so having a place for myself for a couple of days was really amazing. I haven’t been physically alone for a long time!
Paris in January is grey and cold. It can snow or rain. When I was there a bit of rain came down, but I didn’t use an umbrella. During these days I met with one of my favorite Brazilian journalists, Isabel Junqueira. She was kind enough to meet with me twice during my stay in Paris. We talked a lot about journalism, how I came across it and how I am shaping myself in the industry. For me meeting her was a unique experience, because I love meeting in real life people who I first met on social media, in her case on Instagram. It’s incredible how much algorithms can make such magic connections!
This was not my first time in Paris. I had already visited France in 2008 and 2014. Aesthetically speaking, the first two times in Paris were way more visually appealing. It was the summer, sunny. Paris on both occasions. I was with my mom and dad, visiting museums, buying clothes, and experimenting with champagne for the first time – they weren’t sommeliers yet, but they have always put me in the direction of good quality food and beverages. This time, due to my recovery, I wasn’t allowed to drink any alcohol. Plus, I wasn’t feeling visiting all the museums again, but only the small ones or a specific exhibition at the major sites. And it still worked, tbh. I had many two chocolat chauds and a couple of quiches au saumon and lorraine.
I went to the Louvre to see a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition and I stopped at the Yves Saint Laurent museum. The rest of my stay was spent by walking between the 17th and 3rd arrondissements, between la rive gauche and droite. While walking endlessly and taking pictures around le ville I came across the neighborhood of Chatelet. Here I found two of the coolest vintage clothes I’ve ever seen in my life, full of cheap and unique pieces. I made a deal of taking four pieces – a dress from the 90s, a set of pants and sweatshirt from the 80s, and a super cool pair of blue pants full of functional pockets. I can’t wait to rock them once I’ll be back in New York!
I walked an average of 20 thousand steps every day I was there, ending the last day with almost 40 thousand steps. I need to walk. I realized that being by myself in a country where I don’t speak the language fluently – I can understand French and read it fluently, but I can’t speak it, hence I don’t know the language strong enough – allowed me to stay in my lane. I got the chance to observe the fashion trends and the environment with an outsider attitude. But I felt so good being by myself and just relying on my strength – and strong legs lol!
Sure, I wasn’t looking like Audrey Hepburn in Cinderella in Paris. No Fred Astaire was there to take me on a date in the most avant-garde cafes. No William Holden was there with me, holding my hand, and eskimo-kissing me. Since I was little I had this dream of mine that one day this would happen to me, in Paris or in California. Well, it didn’t happen yet. But I was very happy like when I was imagining myself when I was little. What I took from this trip is that even when my body is at its lowest, if I listen to it and I’m moved by my interests, I will be fine. I had the lowest expectations for this trip given my physical and mental condition (I’m in the midst of applying for an internship, looking for a job, and writing a book – which is making me feel vulnerable and naked in front of the blank pages, very frightening). But once again I lived in the moment, very present, with my body and mind. And I managed to see Paris under different eyes.
I didn’t observe any remarkable fashion trend there that spoke to me. I’d say that French are more like Italians – they care in how they present themselves more than North Americans, in general. They do have a more trained eye when it comes to details, especially the men. It’s something that I noticed, but I already knew and was expecting. What I was not expecting was a high number of streetwear stores, especially with American brands. I feel like some parts of the city were looking like Brooklyn, the gentrified part. I believe that even the most romantic or conservative cities have got that hipster-Brooklyn-looking side of their urban area: it has become a cosmopolitan aesthetic, lifestyle, and urban identity that no major city seems able to escape from.
Paris, I loved you. Even when your traffic was not the best at all and all the strikes you had during my stay. But I took all of these things as an opportunity to go out there and meet new people, meet friends, see something new in every corner. Merci!
the curly flower