Paris — a love story

IMG_4276Along with so many others, I’ve been in love with Paris for as long as I can remember. I lived with Madeline “in an old house in Paris that was covered in vines” and I was there with Gigi “the night they invented champagne.” Victor Hugo, Colette, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Fitzgerald, they all added to the grand city that began to take hold in my imagination. A place of glowing interiors — Degas’ ballet studios and Vuillard’s wall-papered living rooms — and sweeping grandeur — Seurat’s public parks and Pissaro’s wide boulevards. I danced with Gene Kelly and turned a tearful face away from Bogart at the Gare de Lyon. A little later, I found myself torn between Jules and Jim.

IMG_4725When I finally arrived, I was shocked to discover how closely the wondrous Paris of my imagination corresponded with the actual place. No, it was better. A whole city so seemingly intent on visual perfection — The Luxembourg Gardens, the Louvre, Notre Dame — that just walking down the street was a joy. A whole city devoted to the best things in life — food, wine, clothing, music, art, gardens, and love.

IMG_0588Paris is a city that lives outside — on its sidewalks and in its cafes. One evening, we saw the Boulevard Raspail surge into a river of humanity as thousands of Parisians roller-bladed through the Left Bank. Children on parents’ shoulders, lovers holding hands, women of a certain age in black leather and silver spandex,  whooshing past us.

I think of that now.

I think of the spontaneity and love of spectacle. I think of the stylishness and whimsy. I think of a happy rush of people, intent on enjoying life.




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13 Responses to Paris — a love story

  1. Phyllis Azar says:

    Lovely. Thanks.

  2. Emily Gyllenhaal says:

    and so it will remain.

  3. judy buck says:

    Beautiful love story, Liza. Says it all.

  4. Nancy Trionfo says:

    In 1957 my sister sent me a book about Montmartre with the inscription
    “May the sight of Paris not shatter your grand dreams.” It didn’t.

  5. Isa Entenza says:

    Thank you for reminding me of the true Paris..beautiful, romantic and eternal.

  6. Beata M. Newman Scarpulla says:

    Oh my, Liza.

    What pain you must be experiencing. Lovely description of your feelings.


  7. ruth m. woolfe says:

    with your beautiful memories of paris many of which i share, you help to alleviate the deep sadness this horrible incident causes me.

  8. Ellen Feldman says:

    What a moving tribute. It gave me the chills. Thank you so much, Liza

  9. annette shear says:

    I am remembering riding the carousel and seeing all of Paris …
    Thank you, Liza


  10. Doris van Ostenbridge says:

    A terrible tragedy. 60 Minutes had a moving account from two witnesses. Your remembrances of Paris were a comfort. Thank you.

  11. Your words, Liza, evoked the universal truths about Paris. Those luminous greys, those intense patterned interiors.
    The French nuances of pleasure, so well expressed by your words. Thank you for
    writing those words. Margaret Sheffield

  12. Beautifully said, Liza – my sentiments too. Hadn’t been there in years til May ’14 – on Day One we happened serendipitously into a chamber concert in St. Chapelle – what an environment and what sounds – only in Paris!

    Thanks you, Margie

  13. Iris Maitland says:

    Oh, “the loveliness that is Paris…”
    I just spoke to friends in Paris and Their sadness is palpable. I have tears of n my eyes.
    The most beautiful city in the world

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