Friday, June 8, 2007

The View from Here...

Some mood music to get you started...

This past Wednesday, I was driving down the Champs-Elyseés and, as usual, stuck in traffic. Instead of being irritated, I'm trying this new thing and really trying to appreciate my life here. It sounds easy, right? I live in Paris... what isn't worthy of appreciation?

In an attempt to not be too negative, I'll just tell you that living here does get frustrating at times. The traffic, smog, high cost, fast-paced, and loud lifestyle can get overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that I'm 3,000 + miles away from my family, friends, and my familiar surroundings.

Since we only have a few months left here before we move to Italy, I am trying to enjoy it and really be happy here... and it all started, like I said, on the Champs-Elyseés. I looked at all the amazing stores... Gucci, Tiffany, and Louis Vitton. I was trying to picture it 50 years ago... women with hat boxes stacked, and mounds of dress bags in their arms... famous movie stars sitting with a drink at a café... and thinking of all the times that I, in the last 4 years, have walked down that street and stopped in those shops myself. They call it the most beautiful avenue in the world and it's true... just look at the picture above. You can see some buildings in the background, behind me and my friend, A. They are gorgeous! I love sitting outside, eating dinner, and drinking a "kir vin blanc". I love shopping in the stores. And I especially loved last summer, when a shop on that avenue saved my poor legs and feet, when they got so swollen with the pregnancy. I was told to stop doing so much and to get this special cream at the Yves Rocher store. Slowing down didn't do much to help the swelling and I'm not the type to slow down much anyway, so I probably didn't really do as I was told. But then I tracked down the store, bought the cream and... heaven... and my legs and feet thanked me.

Then Thursday, I was riding the metro, line 6, from the Etoile, which is known for it's beautiful views (for those of you who know my lovely city, most metro "views" are of an underground tunnel). As you cross the Seine River, the metro comes above ground and you actually go past the Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower). I looked at it in amazement and tried to think about the first time I saw it close up. I can't remember, but I think I am more and more amazed by it every time I see it. And at night when it sparkles for ten minutes each hour- there is nothing more beautiful.
And to think, the Parisians hated the Eiffel Tower after it was built and wanted to tear it down after the World's Fair in 1889. Hitler even ordered it to be destroyed (along with many other beautiful Paris monuments) when Germany surrendered to the Allies. Luckily, for all of us, the German Officer stationed in Paris had fallen in love with this beautiful city and wouldn't let his soldiers blow it to bits. There is actually a small memorial to him somewhere, which is odd, considering he was a Nazi. But I guess if you know the French and their love of French culture, language, and their lovely capital city, it might not be so odd. He did save the city they love, and we all love, from complete destruction.


carrie said...

I enjoyed reading this post--brought back memories of my summer in Paris. You're so brave to drive there!

Jacquie said...

I have enjoyed reading your posts on Paris, I have never been and have enjoyed learning a bit.

Can't wait to start learning about Italy ;-)